Development and Social Change

This information is for the 2022/23 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, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics and BSc in Social Policy with Government. 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

SP210 introduces students to the interrelationship between social and public policies with a particular emphasis on the so-called 'Global South'. It focuses on the ways in which different countries organise their policy processes and institutions to achieve their objectives in relation to inequality and poverty.

The course invites students to think about how ‘development’ might be considered a taken-for-granted process of ‘amelioration’ or a constantly negotiated process of ‘transformation’ in both the so-called 'Global South' and 'Global North'; how socio-economic needs are identified, focused, and addressed or ignored in different settings; who can and cannot participate in policy processes and why; and what are the historical, political and social determinants of these processes in different places.

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

SP210 is taught from a Critical Development Studies (CDS) lens of analysis, primarily because CDS is concerned with analysing systemic changes needed to achieve economic, social and environmental justice (ie, non-mainstream, alternative development) in the same way that social policy interventions are intended to enhance well-being, particularly of the most marginalised in societies across the globe. 


Courses in Social Policy follow the Teaching Model outlined on the following page: https://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/Current-Students/teaching-in-the-department-of-social-policy


All teaching will be in accordance with the LSE Academic Code (https://info.lse.ac.uk/current-students/lse-academic-code) which specifies a "minimum of two hours taught contact time per week when the course is running in the Michaelmas and/or Lent terms". Social Policy courses are predominantly taught through a combination of in-person Lectures and In person classes/seminars. Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course.


This course is taught in both MT and LT.


Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce two pieces of formative coursework.

Indicative reading

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

•Midgely, J., Surender, R. and Alfers, L. (eds) Handbook of Social Policy and Development. Cheltenham and Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.

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

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

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



Essay (40%, 2000 words) in the LT.
Online assessment (30%) in the ST.
Class participation (30%) in the MT and LT.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2021/22: 19

Average class size 2021/22: 9

Capped 2021/22: Yes (18)

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One 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
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills