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Research degrees
Research areas
Development studies
States, political systems and development

States, political systems and development

The role of the state and the emergence of innovative political systems in low and middle income countries are shaping the way development is conceptualised and translated into action. Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador have embraced alternative development paradigms that are rooted on principles and values of inclusiveness and sustainability and some African countries are embracing grassroots-led development processes.

Our research in the Development Policy and Practice (DPP) Group seeks to shed light on how the state becomes a driver and an agent of development while contributing to the construction of alternative political systems that challenge the current conceptualisation and practice of development. The DPP Group draws on an extensive network of academic partnerships with researchers, policy makers and grassroots organisations in Latin America and Africa that ensures an integrated analysis of international development.

Within this broad and cross-cutting agenda we focus on:

  • The relationship between development actors, institutions and dynamics of change at the level of political ideas. This further focuses on global justice, cosmopolitanism and politics of development as well as on transnational networks, states and power.
  • At the level of policies, our focus is on the interaction between governance and government and civil society.
  • At the level of actions, research focus is mainly on social movements, participation, conflict and cooperation.

Qualifications available

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Research degree Fees.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

Within the context of development, we are interested in research at the intersection of political ideas, policies and actions of:

  • Social and solidarity economy in low and middle income countries
  • The politics of inclusive development and innovation
  • Co-operative resilience and rural development
  • Alternative political systems and their impact on development processes
  • Local, national, transnational and global governance
  • Civil society, collective action and political networks
  • Global justice and global citizenship
  • Political systems and development
  • Public engagement and new media
  • Knowledge production and transfer, and social learning

Current/recent research projects

  • Politics of inclusive innovation and development in Latin America
  • Co-operative enterprises, innovation and inclusive development in Africa
  • Knowledge production for sustainable bioenergy: an analysis of UK decision processes and priorities
  • Unpacking role of industry associations in diffusion and governance of health innovations in developing countries

Potential supervisors


Children playing in Latin America

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Ben Lampert, Discipline Convenor
Email: FASS-DPP-PG-Admissions
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655434