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 Board of the Department of Government, 7 May 2010
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

- development economics

- an understanding of feminist interventions in development debates and how gender shapes development and how development practice shapes local gendered realities

- 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, the State, and Sustainability 7.5 credits

Aims (expected study results)

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 sustainable development.

Content of the course

The course has three themes: Introduction to the development discourse, aid and conditionality, and sustainable development. The well known book "Development as Freedom" by Amartya Sen and several articles will introduce you to some of the most important problems and discussions about development. The role of aid in the development process will be analysed in connection with William Easterly's book "The White Mans's Burden", a number of articles, the Paris Declaration from 2005 and some "external"

lectures. Within the general theme of development aid, the course also includes some articles about democracy promotion and democratic conditionality. The last theme is sustainable development; the problems and possibilities of development in a globalising world affected by resource crunches and environmental problems.


The teaching consists of lectures, seminars, and video film. The course is taught in English.


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 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)

3. (En)Gendering International Development, 7.5 credits

Aim of the course (Intended Learning Outcomes)

- To understand how contemporary development interventions are shaped by historical processes of imperialism and colonialism.

- To achieve a critical understanding of dominant paradigms of development theory, practice and implementation.

- To achieve an understanding of feminist interventions in development theory and practice.

- To understand how gender shapes development and how development practice shapes local gendered realities.

- To develop in-depth understanding on how structural processes impact on everyday lives of people.

Content of course

This unit introduces students to the theoretical and conceptual approaches in development theory and its implementation. It critically engages with how gender shapes development theory and how development practice impacts on gender relations and gendered realities. Focusing primarily on the global south, the unit will draw empirical examples from Africa, the Middle East, South/South East Asia and Latin America. The unit will commence with an overview of how 'orientalism' serves as an effective discourse for the justification and institutionalisation of (neo)-imperialism globally and the ways in which it shapes debates on development in colonial and post-colonial contexts. We will move on to analyse the collusions and contestations between colonialism and nationalism and the important but often neglected role of 'domesticity' as an anti-colonial strategy.

We will then investigate how feminist theoretical models have challenged ma(le)instream development debates and the inherent 'male bias'. Structural Adjustment programmes were the key development tool of financial giants such as IMF and World Bank, with the aim to bring developing societies 'on track' with the developed world. But things went wrong? Why? In addition, one purpose of these programmes was to control 'population explosion' in the developing world but which came at a huge cost to individual livelihoods and created gender-imbalances in societies.

As well as considering substantive development issues, the course allows the opportunity to look at the changing role of the state in relation to war and violence. The current explosion of ethnic and civil conflicts are not understood in terms of lack of development, but, problematically, in terms of innate barbarity and backwardness of nation-states. Is this entirely true?

The course will conclude by looking at how development processes, despite their inherent weaknesses, have created pockets of empowerment, which are self-sufficient and self-sustaining and have enabled many societies to recover from debt-led growth.


The seminar sessions will introduce the 'experts' model, which creates a learning environment with the following objectives.

- Seminars will be student-led.

- The seminars will create a learning structure where students actively learn, participate and lead discussions with fellow-scholars. Students will be responsible not just for presentation of key ideas and texts but for the smooth running of the seminar as a whole, including leading discussion and close reading of texts, encouraging participation, and providing intellectual closure at the end of the seminar.

At the start of the course, you will all be asked to sign up to facilitate a given week (in line with lectures). You facilitate as an 'expert' for a specific week/ topic of your choice. There can be two or three 'experts' facilitating each seminar, and you will need to set aside time to meet with your co-facilitators to prepare well in advance of the seminar itself. Attendance of seminars is mandatory, but will not be formally assessed.


- Synthesis and presentation of arguments from key texts.

- Development of critical thinking

- Management of time in a learning environment.

- Independence of thought in designing research activity and managing student-cohorts.

- Experience of working in a team


The teaching consists of lectures and seminars. The course is taught in English.


By the end of the course, students should have achieved the following (Efter genomgångna föreläsningar ska studenten kunna)

- Develop a critical approach towards the theory and practice of development.

- Identify the tensions between gender and development.

- Ability to apply their conceptual knowledge to understand empirical case studies in historical and contemporary development contexts.

- Familiarity with different methodological tools and techniques for researching and appraising development issues.

- Gained good knowledge on how development processes, both, alleviate suffering and impoverish livelihoods.


A written examination will be conducted at the end of the Students will be examined through a written exam. Each question carries 50 points and you have to attempt 2 questions to make a total of 100 points. Each answer should not exceed 500 words. In order to be eligible for the written exam you should have successfully completed the oral presentation assigned to you during the seminars. The oral presentation does not carry a grade but participation is compulsory. If you fail to give an oral presentation, you will not be eligible for the scheduled written exam. Moreover, there will also be a 5% deduction from your final exam grade and you will have to wait till the re-sit exam takes place.

In order to pass the course, the students need to pass the written exam. The maximum number of points is 100. To pass you need 50. To get Väl godkänt you need 75.

Seminar attendance is mandatory

Grades awarded Fail (U) - Pass (G) - Pass with Distinction (VG).

4. Development and Armed Conflict 7.5 credits

Aims (expected study results)

The aim of this course is to introduce the students to basic concepts, facts, arguments, and causal theories about the relationship between development and armed conflict. The purpose is also to study and discuss the role of aid, globally and in Sweden, with regard to armed conflict.

Content of the course

The course has four themes: (1) introduction; (2) good governance and democracy; (3) resource scarcity and the so-called resource curse; and (4) the role of development cooperation in the context of armed conflict. The Miniatlas of Human Security gives a survey of political violence in the world, and of the relationship between armed conflict, poverty and different types of political institutions. Paul Collier's widely cited book The Bottom Billion provides an overview of findings on how poverty breeds armed conflict, and how armed conflict in turn causes poverty, so that poor countries may end up being caught in a conflict trap. The theme "good governance and democracy" deals with the relationship between on the one hand corruption, and on the other hand attempts to capture the state through coups or guerrilla warfare. Another central issue in this context is how elections can provoke violent conflict when held in a non-democratic context. Paul Collier's latest book Wars, Guns, and Votes is the main source when discussing these relationships. The role of gender equality for development and violent conflict is another important issue within this theme. We will discuss the gender aspect on the basis of recent research articles and the 2001 World Bank Policy Research Report Engendering Development. The link between armed conflict and scarce natural resources (e.g., conflict between herders and farmers over dwindling water resources), and between armed conflict and a relative abundance of certain types of resources (e.g., oil, diamonds) is dealt with in several recent articles from academic journals. Also The Bottom Billion has a lot to say on this issue. Development aid in the context of armed conflict is the theme of Mary B. Anderson's classic Do No Harm.


The teaching consists of lectures and seminars. This course is taught in English.


Grades will be based on two short multiple-choice tests, active participation in the seminars, short written assignments in connection with the seminars, and a written take-home exam. Grades are awarded according to the Swedish system, the grades "fail", "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.


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. 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 the courses are taught in English. If you would like to have further information about suitable prior knowledge or experience, please contact the department's reception.