AP2ID2-Approaches to International Development

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: AP1ID1 International Development: Global and Local Issues and AP1EE3 Economics 1 or GV1FHG Foundation in Human Geography and AP1ID1 International Development: Global and Local Issues
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Ainslie

Email: a.m.ainslie@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module consists of Two Parts.

Part 1 (Autumn semester) will focus on general international development theory that seeks to understand and explain global policies and processes of development that are particularly relevant to low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This includes: (i) Examining where the modern notion of ‘development’ springs from and what constitutes contemporary ‘mainstream’ international development thinking, including in/by different disciplines and a range of development actors. (ii) Considering theoretical approaches that have given rise to ideas about livelihoods, well-being, social protection, good governance, empowerment/ participation; (iii) The Capabilities Approach and rights-based development approaches; (iv) Feminist and Gender theories of development and Gender Analysis Tools; (v) Post/Alternative Development theories, including work on Environmental Limits (Green/De- Growth), and Geographies of Resistance and Contemporary Social Movements.

Part 2 (Spring semester) will focus on topics in economic development, linking ‘contentious topics’ to underlying economic theory. Topics will, include the following. : (i) Economic growth in the 21st century: We will use theory and data to address whether we expect to find, and whether indeed we do find, linkages between economic growth, poverty, inequality, and environmental quality. Motivated in part by China’s recent experiences, we will ask whether “green growth” can be a reality, or whether rapid economic growth must always be accompanied by rapid growth in pollution. (ii) Economic transformation and the role of agriculture: We will detail and explore the extent to which, and how, agriculture has contributed and will in the future contribute to economic transformation and growth in low and middle-income countries. (iii) “Global commons”: We will explore how economics has informed the development of new global markets for biodiversity and carbon, and thus how low and middle income countries are increasingly being included in international discussions on climate and biodiversity; and the implications for sovereignty and the commodification of nature; (iv) “Land struggles”: Domestic land and labour markets have long featured in economic development theory. We will study early theories of these markets, focusing on different contracts found in LMICs, why we find them, and the implications. We will highlight key market failures and their implications for contract design and enforcement. We will then reflect on the rise in so-called “land-grabs” – large scale land acquisitions by foreign companies and governments.

Students will be encouraged to think critically about the theoretical frameworks which lie behind different approaches to international development, and the forms and practices to which these approaches give rise. Students will be expected to engage rigorously with both the motives for and the implications of development policy and praxis as these are applied in the real world.

Assessable learning outcomes:
On completion of the module, students will be able to:
1.Demonstrate a coherent understanding of at least four different theoretical approaches to the study of international development.
2.Demonstrate an ability to critically analyse the conceptual framework used to frame a development issue and the preferred modes of intervention.
3.Articulate a coherent, theoretically-informed and evidence-based position on a specific development intervention.
4.Clearly show an appreciation of the contributions that economists and other development specialists can make to understanding international development.

Additional outcomes:
Students will also further hone the following transferable skills:
1.critical reasoning skills – improved ability to make evidence-based arguments with respect to theories of development
2.literature search and evaluation skills, especially in relation to internet-based literature
3.debating skills – the ability to think on one’s feet
4.time management skills and the ability to perform under pressure

Outline content:

Global context:
This course has an intrinsic global content. Students will be introduced to concepts, models, and key theories in international development that relate to low and middle income countries around the globe. Students will be provided with concrete examples from different countries and encouraged to share their experiences.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Teaching methods will include structured lectures, seminars, group discussions, video clips and other media. Students will be encouraged to participate in lectures and will need to undertake significant preparatory reading. Learning activities outside the class will involve guided reading and participation in online discussion groups.

Assessment will be through a number of different channels to reflect the different skills that students will develop through the module. Students will participate in online discussion groups structured around relevant topics. They will review one journal article each, then share and discuss in their groups the issues emerging from these reviews. The class test will ensure that students have grasped the key theoretical concepts. The graded essay assignment will give the students a chance to demonstrate that they can synthesise information from a number of different sources to make a coherent argument in a key area of international development of their choice. The examination will provide students with an opportunity to bring together the skills and knowledge that they have developed in the module.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20
Guided independent study 80 80
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 30
Set exercise 20

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
-Regular opportunities for guided discussion in class
-Writing of one short essay in simulated exam conditions for which feedback is provided. Although this is a compulsory exercise, it does not contribute towards the overall module mark. This will usually take place mid-way into the Spring Term.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One two hour paper – Answer three essay questions from a choice of six.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By examination.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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