What you will study
This module builds upon the conceptual framework and development issues that you encountered in either Global development in practice (D890) or Understanding global development (DD870). The learning resources will enable you to use the key challenges of conflict, governance, justice and transformation to critically re-think and deepen your understanding of the theories, approaches and issues introduced in D890 or DD870.
The module is divided into an introductory block that maps out the challenges and skills you'll focus on, followed by four main blocks that build on one another to deepen your learning as you progress through the module. These blocks are as follows:
Block 1 introduces you to the ways in which conflict, governance, justice, and transformation can be seen as key challenges that cut across all development issues, processes and interventions. You'll also deepen your critical reading and thinking skills, particularly in terms of working effectively with the complexity of development in a wide range of contexts.
Block 2 examines the challenge of conflict, exploring the different ways it is understood and the multiple impacts it has on development. You’ll learn why conflict is considered a key challenge in understanding and addressing global development issues. You’ll also consider how conflict is inherent to development processes. This widens the scope of conflict to include factors such as social hierarchies, access to and control over resources, inequalities, deprivation, and discrimination, as well as historically unresolved conflicts.
Block 3 takes up the challenge of governance, referring to systems for managing collective action problems, for allocating and exercising authority, and for distributing resources within and between societies. Within global development scholarship and practice, much attention has been devoted to getting governance ‘right’ as a way of bringing about development. However, this raises some difficult questions, such as who is empowered by prevailing governance arrangements and who is not? Thus, governance is also often a focus of contestation and conflict.
Block 4 introduces the challenge of justice as central to all debates about global development. You’ll discover its importance in understanding and responding to the impact of systemic inequalities on development, and in terms of building just institutions and public action. You'll also critically examine competing theories of justice and the challenges involved in assessing what a more just world might look like.
Block 5 examines the challenge of transformation in terms of framing and pursuing ‘good change’ and understanding historical transitions of one kind or another. The idea of transformation conceptually guides large-scale visions of development, such as the SDGs and the wider 2030 Agenda. But who decides what kind of transformation should take place, and how is it possible to achieve it? In confronting such questions, you’ll engage with competing understandings of transformation that produce competing visions of development and how it should be pursued.
The final block enables you to review and consolidate your learning from the module as well as giving you an opportunity to prepare for the end-of-module assessment.
The four main blocks (Blocks 2-5) feature ‘exploration weeks’ that provide greater scope to use the respective block challenges to investigate global development issues that are of particular interest and relevance to you. You’ll learn essential skills of independent enquiry whilst exploring how each challenge intersects with the development issue of your choice. Enhancing your study skills and investigative capacities will be beneficial to your academic and professional aspirations, equipping you to join a cohort of development scholars and practitioners around the world.
This module is an essential step in preparing you academically for the dissertation module, Researching global development (DD872), if you intend to complete our MSc in Global Development.