DV513      Half Unit
Environmental Problems and Development Interventions

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Hannah Fair and Prof Jamie Lorimer


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course is for students who wish to study social and political aspects of environmental change and its implications for international development. The aim is to summarise the key current debates about ‘environment and development’ from perspectives of social and political theory with special reference to institutional theory, livelihoods, and inclusive policy interventions.

The course is structured to analyse the challenges of making well-informed environmental interventions in the face of poverty and vulnerability, and then seeking practical solutions to these dilemmas. The course first considers the nature of environmental problems within a ‘development’ context, and what this means for environmental science and norms as applied in developing countries. Themes include assessing environmental science and expertise in concerning adaptation to population growth, resource scarcity, deforestation, desertification, vulnerability to ‘natural’ disasters, and risks associated with climate change, including questions of gender and environment. As the course progresses, it considers debates about policy interventions such as common property regime theory; theories of the state and environment (including resistance and social movements); community-based natural resource management and Sustainable Livelihoods; adaptation to climate change; forests; and urban environmental policy (these latter themes involve debates on multi-level, multi-actor governance involving the connections of local development and global climate change policy).


15 hours of lectures and 10 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 have the opportunity to produce 1 essay in MT

Indicative reading

A detailed  weekly reading list will be provided at the first course meeting. Students are not advised to buy a single textbook for this course but to read selectively and critically from various sources. The following books might be useful introductions:

  • Adams, W.M. 2019. Green Development: environment and sustainability in a developing world. 4th edition. London: Routledge.
  • Forsyth, T. 2003. Critical Political Ecology: the politics of environmental science, London, Routledge
  • Jones, S. and Carswell, G. 2004. The Earthscan reader in environment, development and rural livelihoods. London; Sterling, VA : Earthscan.
  • Kohler, P. (2019) Science Advice and Global Environmental Governance: Expert Institutions and the Implementation of International Environmental Treaties, London and New York: Anthem Press.
  • Neumann, R. 2005. Making Political Ecology, London: Hodder Arnold.
  • Nightingale, A. (ed) 2019. Environment and Sustainability in a Globalizing World, London: Routledge.
  • Ostrom, E., Stern P.C., Diet, T., Dulsak, N. and Stonich, S. (eds.) 2002 The Drama of the Commons: Understanding Common Pool Resource Management. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
  • L Schipper and I Burton (eds) (2008) The Earthscan Reader on Adaptation to Climate Change, London: Earthscan.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

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

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills