DV501      Half Unit
Development History, Theory and Policy for Research Students

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Kathleen Meagher


This course is compulsory on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Management (Employment Relations and Human Resources) and MRes/PhD in Management (Organisational Behaviour). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Available with the permission of the teacher responsible.

Course content

The course integrates the concepts and perspectives of a range of disciplines to consider: major trends of development and change in modern history and interpretations of them in the social sciences and contemporary economic and social theory and their bearing on the policy and practice of development.  During Michaelmas Term the course critically discusses concepts of 'development' and the historical evolution of paradigms of development thinking and policy. With reference to comparative historical experience, we explore the role of states and markets in development and/underdevelopment, colonial legacies and path dependencies, and developmental states in comparative perspective. We examine the impact of pro-market reforms, globalisation and financialisation, as well the role of non-governmental organisations, social movements and challenges to the reigning development paradigm.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars in the MT. Student on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 presentations in the MT.

Indicative reading

The following are recommended basic readings for the course:


A Kohli, State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery (Cambridge, 2004).

A Sen, Development as Freedom (Anchor, 1999).

HJ Chang, Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective(Anthem, 2002).

HJ Chang, Economics: The User's Guide (Penguin, 2014)

K Gardner and D Lewis, Anthropology and Development: Challenges for the Twenty-First Century (Pluto, 2015)

D Rodrik, One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth (Princeton University Press, 2008)

J Ferguson, The Anti-Politics Machine: 'Development', Depoliticisation and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho (Cambridge, 1990).

M Jerven, Poor Numbers: How we are misled about African development statistics and what to do about it (Cornell, 2013).

United Nations, “Transforming Our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (SDGs)  A/RES/70/1   (25 September 2015).


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in January.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2021/22: 5

Average class size 2021/22: 5

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication