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Development Studies Special Topic B: Global Governance and International Development
This course provides students with an analytical base for understanding the ways in which processes of global governance have and do frame the idea of ‘international development’ and shape the resources, strategies, policies and institutions that promote economic, social and political change in ‘developing countries’. While there is much doom and gloom about the state of the world, life has been getting better (often at an accelerated rate) for most of humanity in recent times. Extreme poverty has reduced dramatically, incomes and life expectancy have been rising and child and maternal mortality have declined. But rising insecurity, inequality and unsustainability challenge these advances in the human condition.
Through the application of Robert Cox’s critical political economic approach to examining historical structures (material capabilities, ideas and institutions) we explore the dominant narratives of ‘how’ international development is to be achieved – by international agencies, national governments and other actors. This covers the 1945 to 1990 period (modernization & growth, rural development and structural adjustment) and more recent times (good governance, poverty reduction and now sustainable development).
Particular attention is paid to the roles and motives of: (i) multilateral institutions such as the UN, World Bank and IMF (ii) OECD-DAC countries/donors and the ways in which they pursue dynamic mixes of self-interest and moral mission, (iii) the BRICs/BRICS and especially China and India, and (iv) the role of national governments.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon completion of this subject, students should:
- be familiar with the policy trends and debates of key development actors;
- be familiar with contemporary critiques of mainstream development policy and take positions in these debates;
- be able to critically reflect on policy as an empirical phenomenon.
The subject is intended to strengthen the following skills:
- unravelling development policies, place them in historical context and critically reflect on them;
- construct coherent arguments about development policy;
- straddle the divide between academic and policy, treat the knowledge, language and workings of both realms at their own merit, and identify tensions and connections between them.
Last updated: 3 November 2022