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: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Ainslie

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

Summary module description:

The module consists of Two Parts.


The module consists of Two Parts.

Part 1 (Autumn semester) will focus on general international development theory that informs global development policies and processes and which are particularly relevant to low and middle-income countries (LMICs). This includes a consideration of: (i) where the modern notion of ‘development’ springs from and what constitutes contemporary ‘mainstream’ international development’s ‘theories of change’, including in/by different disciplines and a range of development actors. (ii) Structuralist and critical approaches to development including Marxist political economy,, dependency- and world systems theory and post-colonial theory. (iii) Feminist-inspired gender-based theories of development and tools for Gender Analysis. (iv) The rise of ‘people-centred’ development: participation/ empowerment, good governance, livelihoods and social protection. (v) Sen’s Capabilities Approach and applications of the notion of well-being. (vi) Cultures of development and the ethics of development (vii) Alternative Development theories, including approaches that emphasise Environmental Limits to Growth. (viii) Geographies of Resistance and Contemporary Social Movements. (ix) Collective/Reflexive learning from development practice (x) Post-development and/or McDonaldisation? Possible directions for international development in the 21st century and a multi-polar world.

Part 2 (Spring semester) will focus on topics in economic development, linking current topics to underlying economic theory, with an emphasis on the environment. Topics will, include the following. :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 and policies, 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)“Renewables”: We will consider the role of forests and fisheries in people’s livelihoods in LMICs, how they are managed, and how they are being drawn into global debates, and link this to theories of why common pool resources are particularly tricky to manage.(iii) “Global commons”: We will segue from local commons to global commons, exploringe 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 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 a critical appreciation of the contributions that economists and other development specialists 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 world. 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 work, 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 compulsory online discussion groups structured around relevant topics. They will do background reading review one journal article each, then share, discuss and present in their groups the issues emerging from these discussions. The class test will ensure that students have grasped the key theoretical conceptsintorduced in part1. 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 20
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

- Regular opportunities for guided discussion in class seminars - Compulsory online discussion group exercise in Autumn Term, which does not contribute to the overall module mark, but will sharpen students’ critical skills and encourage their working together in groups - one short essay set in the style of the questions in the written exam. This is a compulsory exercise, but it does not contribute towards the overall module mark. This will usually take place mid-way through 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: 31 March 2017

    Things to do now