What you will study
This module focuses on the key theories, approaches, and processes shaping contemporary development. You'll explore the major development issues of our times, including migration, socio-economic security, environmental sustainability, technological innovation, and the politics of development, and examine the global frameworks shaping our responses, most notably the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
You'll be provided with a comprehensive and critical overview of dominant development thinking and practice, as well as gaining exposure to new approaches that recognise the global nature of contemporary development issues and relevance to ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries alike. In exploring development practices and processes across the global ‘North’ and ‘South’, you'll be equipped with the conceptual tools to critically understand and respond to key development issues. This will involve recognising the importance of taking a historical perspective and being attuned to the different scales at which development unfolds, from the local to the global levels. Questions of power and agency are also central to this, enabling you to comprehend and negotiate the contested nature of development and the ways in which change occurs.
This module balances development theory, policy and practice, using case studies to reveal how development thinking, interventions and processes operate in diverse and challenging contexts. There are five main blocks of study that build on one another to deepen your learning as you progress through the module as follows:
Block 1 introduces you to the latest debates in development thinking and practice, highlighting how contemporary development issues are increasingly seen to be global in scope, connecting and affecting countries across the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ worlds. The block moves on to critically examine the SDGs as the leading example of global development thinking in practice, asking what constitutes a global development issue, who decides, and how responses are formulated. Crucially, it ends by introducing an analytical framework based on concepts of Power, Agency, Scale and History (PASH) as a key tool for understanding and responding to major development issues explored through the module.
Block 2 builds on this by further developing the Scale and History elements of PASH and using them to explore the key development issues of socio-economic security and migration. In doing this, it critically examines the analytical value of different historical and scalar approaches and how they can be used to understand global development issues, such as migration and socio-economic security, as processes occurring at a range of intersecting scales (from the individual and household to the international and global) and shaped by historical events and economic models such as structuralism and neoliberalism.
Block 3 follows by developing the Power and Agency elements of the PASH analytical framework and uses them to explore the key development issues of environmental sustainability and technological innovation. It looks at the major theoretical ideas and perspectives underpinning notions of power and agency and how these can be usefully employed in analysing the inherently contested political processes shaping development issues and attempts to make change happen.
Block 4 brings together your learning from Blocks 2 and 3 to explore how the four elements of PASH intersect and can be utilised together in making sense of and responding to global development issues. It does this through a particular focus on the key development issues of the global politics of development and the politics of 'doing' development.
Block 5, as the final black, provides space for you to review and consolidate your learning from the module, allowing you to look back on what you have learnt and to prepare for the end-of-module assessment.
Woven throughout these blocks is a comprehensive skills development programme that equips you with both the capacities to study at postgraduate level and the ability to independently examine and critically interrogate development thinking, policy and practice. You will have opportunities to develop and practise digital literacy and academic writing and reading skills and also to create a network of peers. You will be part of a cohort of development scholars and practitioners around the world and your collaborations and debates with peers will be an important part of your development as a critical and reflective problem solver.