Development and Social Change

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey OLD.2.53


This course is available on the BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics and BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

Course content

The course introduces students to the interrelationship between social and public policy and different socio-political contexts in middle and low-income countries. It focuses on the ways in which different countries organize their policy processes and institutions to achieve their objectives in relation to inequalities and poverty.

The course invites students to think about how social needs are identified, focused, and addressed or ignored in different settings, who can participate in these processes and who cannot, what are the historical and social determinants of these processes in different places.

The course is designed to link research/theory to policy and 'practice' issues. In addition, it introduces students to various policy actors including international ones and the way in which these actors work together within specific socio-political and economic constraints. The course rigorously links theoretical analysis with empirical enquiry. It highlights the importance of identifying and understanding different value positions that underwrite policy thinking.


Courses in Social Policy will follow the Teaching Model which has been adopted by the Department of Social Policy during the period of the pandemic. This is outlined HERE: https://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/Current-Students/teaching-in-the-department-of-social-policy.

This course will be taught through a combination of either a recorded lecture plus a follow-up Q and A session or a ‘live’ on-line lecture; and classes/seminars of 1-1.5 hours (with size and length of classes/seminars depending on social distancing requirements).

Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 4 pieces of coursework.

Indicative reading

• Escobar, A. (1995) Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third Word. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.

• Gardner, K. and Lewis, D. (2015) Anthropology and Development: Challenges for the 21st Century. London: Pluto Press.

• Long, N. (2001) Development Sociology: Actor Perspectives. New York:  Routledge.

• Mkandawire, T. (ed) (2004) Social Policy in a Development Context. Geneva: UNRISD.

• Sen, A. (1999) Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

• Surender, R. and Walker, R. (eds) (2013) Social Policy in a Developing World. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

• Veltmeyer, H. and Bowles, P. (eds) (2021) The Essential Guide to Critical Development Studies (2nd edition). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

• Wilson, K. (2012) Race, Racism and Development: Interrogating History, Discourse and Practice. London: Zed Books.


Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the LT.
Online assessment (50%) in the ST.

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: Social Policy

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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