Development Politics

School: School of Government
International Development Department

Modular value: 20 credits

The politics of a country has a profound impact on levels of development, but this has often been overlooked. Development practitioners and governments have often presented development as something that is apolitical – that is simply about applying scientific methods and technical expertise. For a long time, this approach helped to mask the way that political factors can either facilitate or block development, and the politics of the development community itself – which has recently been accused of overly male, white and ‘Northern’. It is therefore essential to confront and understand the politics of development.

This module looks at the issues involved in dealing with complex and often fluid political environments in developing countries, drawing comparisons within and between both countries and regions, and examines the politics of development agencies and NGOs themselves.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • Describe and explain politics in developing countries at the national and regional levels.
  • Critically analyse the concepts, theories and approaches relating to the politics of development.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of how the principles and theories of development politics may be applied to the practical situations facing policy makers in developing countries.
  • Critically analyse and explain the impact of different aspects of politics on poverty in developing countries.


One 3,000 word assignment (60%) and one 2,000 word assignment (40%).

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.