Development Studies A

30 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 2SK021

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Development Studies G1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Social Sciences, 24 January 2007
Responsible department
Department of Government

Entry requirements

General entry requirements

Learning outcomes

After completion of Development Studies A the students are expected to:

  • be able to describe the most central global development problems
  • independently formulate and discuss problems within the area
  • have some knowledge of basic theories and concepts, especially regarding:
  • development, democracy, and the state
  • the impact of colonialism on development theories and developing countries
  • development economics
  • anthropological perspectives on globalisation and the Third World
  • be acquainted with some current research and research discussions
  • independently and critically analyse and discuss central problems in development
  • connect the theoretical studies to a practical reality and a possible future job market


1. Development, Democracy and the State 7.5 credits


The aim of this course is to introduce the students to basic concepts, facts, arguments, and causal theories about development. The purpose is also to study and discuss the role of aid, globally and in Sweden. A part of the course focuses on and departs from recent research on development, democracy, and social capital.


The course has four themes: Introduction to the development discourse, aid, the development state, and social capital. The text book by Arne Bigsten, the two chapters in the UNDP report, and the well known book by Amartya Sen will introduce you to some of the most important problems and discussions about development. The role of aid in the development process will be discussed in connection with the Swedish government's bill on aid from 2002 and some 'external' lectures. An important theme in the debates about development during the last half century has been about state vs the market as means to decrease poverty and better peoples' lives. Ha-Joon Chang's contributes to this discussion with a provocative argument that the currently rich countries are "kicking away the ladder" for the developing countries by trying to deny them the policies and strategies of a 'developmental state'. We will discuss his argument in view of contrary views. The last theme of the course is social capital and democracy. During the last 10-15 years democracy has become a dominant idea in debates and policies about development – as a goal in its own right and as a means to achieve other goals. Anirudh Krishna's book analyses in the context of villages in northern India the importance of social capital for democracy and development.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars, and video film.


Students are examined through a written exam. Active participation in seminars, which include written assignments, gives credit when doing the written exam,. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction".

Deepening related to the requirements of degree

The course aims to give students knowledge and understanding about the field and a practice in independent evaluation, critical treatment and discussions of this knowledge.

2. Development theory and colonial legacies 7.5 credits


After the course, the students are expected to be able to

- account for main trends in how perceptions of development have changed over time in colonial and post-colonial Africa, Latin America and South Asia since 1800

- account for examples of how colonial policies in Africa, Latin America and South Asia been formed in relation to perceived insufficiencies obstructing development

- analyse how perceptions of similarity and difference between groups of people influence development policies

- account for examples of how perceptions of nationality, ethnicity, race and gender been integrated parts of development perceptions

- account for how development and underdevelopment theories been worked out in relation to colonial and post-colonial experiences in Africa, Latin America and South Asia

Content of the course

The course contains an analysis of perceptions and theories of "development" and "progress" and how these perceptions have influenced the political, economic and social practices in South Asia, Africa and Latin America since c. 1800. The course deals with changes in the perceptions of development caused by colonial and post-colonial experiences. Further, the course deals with perceptions of race and ethnicity, of sex/gender and of how social power was organised politically as integrated parts of perceptions of development. The course is given by teachers from three disciplines – history, economic history and anthropology – to illustrate different perspectives on issues of development in history.


The instructions consist of lectures and seminars.


Examination is given through a written exam. One part of the exam might be examined by written assignments and active participation in seminars. In order to pass the course the students need to pass the written exam. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction".

Specialisation in relation to examination requirements

The course provides the students with the opportunity to practice independent evaluation and critical treatment of development theories by relating these theories both to their epistemological context and to the historical contexts within which they were worked out.

Further instructions

A prerequisite for successful studies are active participation in seminars and lectures and the continuous reading of the course literature.

3. Development Economics 7.5 credits


Analysing major economic questions relevant to less developed economies this course aims to use economic analysis to further the understanding of the obstacles to development and discusses appropriate policies that can be adopted. Issues related to development, growth, inequality, poverty, human capital, rural stagnation, trade, foreign finance and investment, foreign aid, sustainable development and environment are discussed using examples from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Content of the course

The course begins by exploring the prospects for economic growth and development in poor nations as indicated by economic analyses and historical growth experience. It further explores the classical theories of economic development. While discussing important issues like inequality, growth and poverty we also try to investigate: Why inequality is bad? Does economic growth lead to inequality? Are economic growth and poverty removal conflicting goals? And which policies can lead to a reduction of inequality and poverty. We further discuss the Human Capital Theory and the role of education and health in development, while focusing not just on the quantity but also the quality of service provision and the impact of AIDS on the developing economies. Agricultural institutions and stagnation, sustainable development and environment degradation are explored along with policies that can be followed by developed and developing countries to solve these problems. The course further takes a detailed look at the role that international trade, foreign investment and foreign aid plays in development. Examples from Asia, Africa and Latin America are used to illustrate different problems and solutions of development.


The course includes a series of lectures, supplemented by guest lectures from experts dealing with development issues. In addition, seminars are conducted with students in smaller groups to encourage further discussions around topics related to the lectures and recommended literature.


A written examination will be conducted at the end of the course. To pass, the students need to score at least a G grade (50 percent points).

4. Development and globalisation 7.5 credits


After completing the course the students are expected to:

- have basic insights into the relationship between development and globalisation

- be able to critically analyse the growing transnational flows, the expansion of the global market economy, the globalisation of culture and politics and the relationship between local, national, and trans-national processes

- have an orientation of current research issues concerning development and globalisation

- have some knowledge of different theories of globalisation, and pay attention to the global connections that are important for social and economic development in less developed countries

Content of the course

This course introduces the social-scientific and political discussions about globalisation and its consequences, particularly for the development in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It gives opportunity for critical analyses of the increasing cross-border flows, the expansion of the global market economy, and the globalisation of culture as well as politics. Furthermore, the relations between local, national, and transnational processes are emphasised.


The instruction consists of lectures and seminars.


Examination is given through a written exam and seminars. In order to pass the course the students need to pass the written exam and the seminars, which include written assignments. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction".

Specialisation in relation to examination requirements

The course aims among other things to give students practice in the independent evaluation and critical treatment of different problem areas with special attention to the relations between separate structural levels.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars, video films, and study visits.


The various parts of the course are examined by means of written tests. An opportunity for a re-test is given ca 3-4 weeks after the first exam. The time and place for the written tests is announced in the schedule on the net. Each of the four courses also has seminars. In course 4 the seminar participation is a course requirement; in course 1 and 2 the seminar is not required but gives credit in the written exam. Grades are awarded according the scale "failed", "pass" or "pass with distinction". To get the grade "pass with distinction" for the whole A course that grade is needed for at least 15 points of the totally 30 points.

Course level in relation to degree requirements

The course aims to give students some knowledge and understanding about development studies and a practice in independent evaluation, critical treatment and discussions of this knowledge.

Other directives

No prior formal qualification is required except general entrance requirements. To be able to pursue this course in a satisfactory way good knowledge from the courses in social science and history from high school is probably needed. Since most of the course literature is in English, a good command of English is required. Note that some of the lectures, and the whole course in Development Economics, are taught in English. If you would like to have further information about suitable prior knowledge or experience, please contact the department's reception.