Syllabus for Development Studies B

Utvecklingsstudier B

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 30 credits
  • Course code: 2SK031
  • Education cycle: First cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Development Studies G1F

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2007-01-24
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-03-03
  • Revised by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Autumn 2020
  • Entry requirements:

    Development Studies A or the equivalent

  • Responsible department: Department of Government

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student is expected to

  • with some degree of competence discuss and work with development research problems
  • have formed a considered judgement of his own in both theoretical and empirical questions concerning the democratic rule and, in this respect, be able to analyse and discuss ideas and empirical research findings about democracy at a fairly advanced level
  • discuss the choice of method and design (case studies, comparative method, idea analysis) in a problem perspective
  • actively participate in seminar discussions and make presentations of articles and of his own work.


The course is divided into three parts.

The first sub-course deals with the problems of democracy. Normative questions concerning the concept of democracy, arguments for and against democracy, the relationship between democracy, constitutionalism and efficiency, and the relationship between democracy and feminism, are brought up here. In the second part mainly empirical questions about the prerequisites for democracy as well as its spread, causes and effects are treated.

The second sub-course is called Development Policy in Practice. It focuses on different development goals and seeks to trace their theoretical starting-points as well as their implementation at the national and local level. The course deals with policy formulation and project phases, focusing on different policy areas such as democracy support, humanitarian aid after disasters, and the agenda for women, peace and security. Practitioners working with these issues will participate in the course. The course language is English.

The third sub-part offers basic knowledge in scientific method. The students get a first introduction to empirical research and to the way in which different choices of method affect the realisation and results of a research project. The focus of the course is on basic methodological concepts and qualitative methods.

1. Problems of Democracy 7.5 credits

Learning outcomes

The course introduces some fundamental problems of democracy from political science and development studies perspectives. The aim is to equip students with the ability to independently analyse the central theoretical and empirical questions regarding democratic government. The course builds on themes introduced in previous courses in political science and development studies, such as the concept of democracy and theories of democratization. The ambition is to equip students with the ability to discuss ideas about democracy as well as empirical research at a fairly advanced level. In practice, this means that the students - aided by the course topics described below - make the leap from arguing from a limited and personal point of view, to constructing more general, systematic and well-founded arguments. More precisely, at the end of the course the students should:

  • be able to describe and compare various conceptions of democracy.
  • be able to mention and evaluate the historically most important arguments for and against democracy.
  • know, and be able to employ and critically review some of the most common explanations of democratisation.
  • know, and be able to compare different regime types
  • know how democracy in general, and its constitutional structure in particular, affects various political and economic outcomes.
  • be able to argue for or against ideas and theses in a systematic and well-founded manner, orally as well as in writing.


The course consists of three parts:

The first part deals with normative democratic theory. It covers conceptual issues concerning the meaning of democracy, normative questions about the justification of democracy, and the problems and solutions that have been offered within different traditions in democratic theory. We cover issues such as: How do we define democracy? Is democracy and populism the same thing? What is good about democracy? What is the main critique of democracy? What is the significance of granting various interests and groups political representation? Should the ideals of democracy be reformulated in the light of contemporary processes of globalisation and migration?

The second part of the course deals with the political and economic preconditions as well as consequences of democracy: Why are some countries democratized while others are not? What characterizes different authoritarian regimes? Does democracy matter for welfare and equality? What are its distributive consequences?

The third part combines the normative and the empirical dimensions by studying the constitutional design of democracy. What is meant by "constitutional democracy", and what are the political and economic consequences of different normative principles? Can one combine popular rule and rule of law? How should a democracy defend itself against those groups and persons who seek to exploit democracy to undermine it? In addition, we focus on the building of a democratic regime, such as the possiblity (and desirability) of imposing democracy from without.


This course consists of lectures and seminars. Attendance at all seminars is mandatory, while attendance at lectures is voluntary. The course is divided into three parts. Course lectures aim to introduce the main points covered in each part. The seminars aim to develop the students' analytical skills through discussion in smaller groups. Before each seminar, all students will be required to prepare answers to a set of questions, individually and/or in groups. These prepared answers will be discussed during the seminars. This way, the seminars should provide opportunities for the students to continuously reflect on the content of the course, and work together to highlight the practical importance of theoretical ideas that are introduced throughout the course.


The course ends with an exam, which serves both as basis for grading, and an opportunity for the student to rehearse the content of the course.

The grading system is VG Pass with distinction', G Pass' and U Fail'.

To pass' the class, the student is required to

-participate actively in the seminars and get a pass on the assignments

-pass' the final exam

2. Development Policy in Practice 7.5 credits

Learning Outcomes

The course focuses on different central development goals and trace their theoretical background as well as their practical implications when they are implemented at local and national levels. The aim is that students will deepen their theoretical understanding of the themes that were introduced at the A-level and use these as a starting point to improve their capacity to critically examine and analyse policy processes at international, national and local levels as well as practical development cooperation in project form.

The course should improve the students' knowledge about practical development cooperation by mapping actors, policy processes and project phases as well as by shedding light on different policy areas and their content. The overarching aim with the course is to make students capable of critically examining practical development cooperation from a theoretical basis and with knowledge of relevant tools. More precisely, at the end of the course the students should:

  • know about the most important actors in international development cooperation and how they relate to each other
  • be able to apply relevant research and theories in a critical examination and analysis of development policy
  • be able to describe and identify the distinguishing phases of a development project
  • be able to discuss development cooperation from a practical as well as theoretical perspective, and to be able to compare the two perspectives
  • be able to present central development goals and identify challenges with reaching them, orally as well as in writing


The course takes its starting point in different development goals and policy formulations on the global arena. These development goals are analysed from two perspectives: their theoretical relevance and background are illustrated with relevant research in the field, and their practical implications are exemplified with the help of analyses of practical development projects. The course begins with an introduction to the development policy process and the different phases of a development project. A gender mainstreaming perspective is applied throughout the course. We also endeavor to include practitioners' perspectives throughout the course as a contrast to the theoretical approaches.

The first development goal that is analysed is democracy support and the part of the development project that is discussed in relation to this is project planning. Examples of questions that are treated include how democratic processes can be supported by actions like election observation or technical assistance in connection with elections. Gender aspects of electoral violence are given particular attention.

The second development goal is disaster relief, with a particular focus on climate change and humanitarian aid. The part of the development project that is discussed here is implementation. The implementation of humanitarian relief after disasters in development contexts is examined, but there is also a focus on the relationship between urgent humanitarian aid and achieving more long-term societal resilience.

The third development goal is peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. The part of the development project that is discussed here is monitoring and evaluation. Questions that are discussed deal with "DDR" - disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants in post-conflict societies as well as the UN Security Council's Resolution 1325 about women, peace, and security.

In the concluding part of the course, the students independently carry out an analysis of a development project.


The student's own reading is supported by lectures and compulsory seminars, and there are also examples of other types of teaching methods (e.g. guest lectures, documentary films, exhibitions, study tours etc. - that will vary between semesters).

The lectures bring up the central themes of the course and relate them to the literature. They introduce theories in the field and give practical examples of development projects.

The seminars aim to be platforms for practicing oral presentation of prepared tasks. They should also develop the analytical skills of the students by offering opportunities for discussion in smaller groups.


Examination is based on active participation in seminars, an oral presentation and supporting written documentation, as well as a concluding home exam where students are to independently analyse a development project. For the seminars, the following grades will be applied: Passed (G) and Failed (U). For the home exam, the following grades will be applied: Passed with distinction (VG), Passed (G) and Failed (U).

In order to pass the course, the following is required:

  • that the student has reached the learning outcomes
  • that the student has prepared for and participated in the compulsory seminars that the student has carried out an oral presentation and turned in supporting written documentation and that these tasks are approved
  • that the home exam is turned in before the deadline and given at least the grade Pass (G)

3. Methods 15.0 credits

Learning Outcomes

The purpose of the course is to give the students a theoretical understanding of the basic concepts in social science research and methodological choices, and be able to apply this. The focus of the course is on qualitative methods as they are used in Political Science and Development Studies. After completion of the course, students are expected to have acquired the following abilities:

  • To formulate a research question relevant for political science or development studies
  • To connect a research question to relevant previous research
  • To understand the how to define and operationalise concepts
  • To have a basic knowledge of methods in the analysis of ideas, normative analysis, and process tracing
  • To have a basic knowledge about data collection and analysis based on texts, questionnaires, focus groups, experiments, and observation
  • To have a basic understanding of how to design a study in political science or development studies


The course is on methods in social science, with a focus on qualitative methods. Its core idea is that scientific method is best understood when applied. Therefore each part in the course will be applied in exercises by the students. The knowledge and understanding gained this way will also facilitate the students' critical review of previous research.

The course emphasises the pivotal role for research and investigations of a clear and well formulated question. The question should steer the study and the methodological choices made by the author. The course will focus on several qualitative methods: analysis of ideas, normative critique and argumentation, and process tracing. The students will also acquaint themselves with different kinds of data material - from texts, interviews, focus groups, experiments, and observations. In the last part and exercise in the course the student shall make an appropriate design of a study based on her/his own research question. The aim in the last part is thus also to tie the different parts of the course together. By training the students systematically in the different core components of a scientific study the course's aim is also to prepare the students well for their BA thesis.

The training of these skills will be continuously examined during the course. The idea is to give the students opportunities to exercise in a rather concrete way the different components in social science research, and in this way to make it possible to deepen their understanding. Active participation, critical discussions, and feedback from the teacher in the seminars will enhance learning.


The course will be introduced by lectures on the research process. Then each part of the course consists of lectures and a seminar when the students' papers will be discussed.

The language of teaching is Swedish.


The course is examined by means of a written exam in the beginning of the course plus the seminar papers. Grades are awarded according to the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction". Examination is based on the written seminar assignment as well as on active participation in the seminars. For the grade "pass" it is required that the student will have handed in all assignments, acquired the grade "pass" and actively participated in all the seminars, and acquired "pass" in the written exam.


The instruction is done in the form of lectures and seminars of varying content and disposition.

Additional information regarding instruction and examination will be handed out before each sub-course.


The course is examined by means of course papers, exams, assignments, and active participation in the seminars. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction". If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2020

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

Problems of Democracy

  • Oskarsson, Sven; Widmalm, Sten Myt eller verklighet : om samband mellan demokrati och ekonomisk tillväxt

    Stockholm: Norstedt, 2010

    Find in the library


  • Dahl, Robert A. Democracy and its critics

    New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, cop. 1989

    Find in the library


  • Mudde, Cas; Rovira Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Populism : a very short introduction

    Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

    Find in the library


  • Widmalm, Sten; Oskarsson, Sven Prometokrati : mellan diktatur och demokrati

    1. uppl.: Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2010

    Selections. Available at the Student Portal

    Find in the library


Articles will be added

Development Policy in Practice

  • Haslam, Paul A.; Schafer, Jessica; Beaudet, Pierre Introduction to international development : approaches, actors, issues, and practice

    Third edition: Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2017

    Find in the library


Book chapters, articles and policy documents will be added.


  • Metodpraktikan : konsten att studera samhälle, individ och marknad Esaiasson, Peter; Gilljam, Mikael; Oscarsson, Henrik; Towns, Ann E.; Wängnerud, Lena

    Femte upplagan: Stockholm: Wolters Kluwer, 2017

    Find in the library


  • Beckman, Ludvig Grundbok i idéanalys : det kritiska studiet av politiska texter och idéer

    Stockholm: Santérus, 2005

    Find in the library


  • Teorell, Jan; Svensson, Torsten Att fråga och att svara : samhällsvetenskaplig metod

    1. uppl.: Stockholm: Liber, 2007

    s.21-31 samt 247-261

    Find in the library


Articles and course material will be added