Not available in 2021/22
DV477      Half Unit
Rural Livelihoods, Development and Agrarian Transformation

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof David Lewis OLD2.40


This course is available on the MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Environmental Policy, Technology and Health (Environmental Economics and Climate Change) (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students will be allocated places to courses with priority to ID students.  If there are more ID students than the course can accommodate, these spots will be allocated randomly. 

Non-ID students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option.


Knowledge of rural areas and relevant work experience is desirable but not essential. Knowledge of sociological and anthropological approaches to studying rural development also desirable.

Course content

This Course considers: Theories of rural development and transformation, history of rural development policy, changing rural livelihoods, land and agrarian reform, agricultural research and extension, the roles of private and non-governmental actors, natural resource management, food security, climate change and rural-urban linkages.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

A formative 1500 word essay is required, and feedback will be provided.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list is included in the seminar programme. The following is an introductory reading list:

  • J Boltvinik & SA Mann (eds.) Peasant Poverty and Persistence in the 21st century: Theories, Debates, Realities and Policies (2016);
  • T M Li, Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (2014);
  • I Scoones & J Thompson, Farmer First Revisited (2009);
  • R McAreavey, Rural Development Theory and Practice (2009);
  • A Shepherd, Sustainable Rural Development (1998);
  • B Crow & H Bernstein (Eds), Rural Lives: Crises and Responses (1992);
  • N Long, Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives (2001);
  • Rural Development Report 2016: Fostering Inclusive Rural Transformation (IFAD, 2016).


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the ST.

Students are required to write an assessed essay of 3,500 words.

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: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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