DV407      Half Unit

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Geoff Goodwin


This course is available on the MSc in Anthropology and Development, MSc in Anthropology and Development Management, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development, MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Places will be allocated with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than DV407 can accommodate, these places will be allocated randomly.  Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option.

Course content

The course is an interdisciplinary analysis of poverty. With attention to both the macro-level political economy of poverty and the micro-level lived experiences of the poor, we will examine how and why poverty persists in developing countries and analyse policy interventions and their outcomes. The course is interdisciplinary in focus, drawing on a range of methodological approaches to poverty, and does not require any prior mathematical or statistical qualification.

The course begins with an examination of the definition and measurement of poverty. We will then consider social mobility, followed by the spatial dimensions of poverty, including urban and rural poverty. We will then turn to issues of work and employment, social protection, and the politics of poverty, followed by weeks on environmental poverty, and private sector involvement, including the question of financial inclusion. The course will end with focus on successful cases of pro-poor development.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the MT. Seminars will be at or upwards of 45 minutes duration and lectures will be at or above 60 minutes duration.

Student on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will give one class presentation, and submit one formative essay of 1500 words.

Indicative reading

Javier Auyero, Patients of the State: The Politics of Waiting in Argentina (Duke University Press 2012); Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (Public Affairs/Penguin 2011); Anirudh Krishna, Broken Ladder: The Paradox and Potential of India’s One Billion (Cambridge University Press 2017); Tania Li Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (Duke University Press 2014); Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard University Press Ananya Roy, 2011); Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (Routledge 2010)


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2020/21: 73

Average class size 2020/21: 14

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills