[skip to content]

x Development Geographies: Livelihood and Policy Contexts

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2

This module aims to apprise students of the debates about the meaning of the term ‘development’ and the different ways of measuring ‘development’. It will apprise students of theoretical developments in development geography, including postmodern and postcolonial theories and enable them to develop an awareness of how patterns of wealth and welfare vary both between and within developing countries. Students will develop a critical understanding of contemporary development policy approaches; an awareness of selected processes operating within developing countries which affect their rural, urban and population geography; and an appreciation of the links between regional expertise and development practice.

For more information and to check that this course is running, please contact Dr Debby Potts, Head of the SOAS Geography programme (debby.potts@kcl.ac.uk).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Understand and engage with the debates about the 'impasse in development' and contestation over the meaning of 'development' for stakeholders and practitioners. 
  • Evaluate the various ways of measuring poverty and development. 
  • Discuss contemporary policy approaches to development, such as community-based participatory approaches. 
  • Understand and explain contemporary patterns of wealth and welfare indices in the poorer countries of the world. 
  • Assess critically environmental issues pertinent to an understanding of development-related prospects in the tropics and sub-tropics. 
  • Provide an overview of selected, contemporary processes in demographic change and rural and urban areas in developing countries. 
  • Understand the significance of 'ground-truthing' development theories in specific, regional contexts.


This course will be taught with twenty lectures

Method of assessment

Assessment will be by unseen examination which will constitute 75% of the final grade, and by an assessed essay which will constitute 25% of the final grade.