SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Agrarian Development, Food Policy and Rural Livelihoods

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Term 2

The aim of this module is to enable students to understand and evaluate major policy debates on the role of agriculture in development. To do so, the course will consider in some depth the relevant theoretical and empirical literature on: the necessary for structural change in agriculture-dependant societies; the operation of agricultural factor and commodity markets, including international markets; the nature of rural societies and the characterisation of farmers; the nature of food markets and the role of agriculture in improving welfare. Both mainstream and heterodox approaches will be investigated.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

  • understand the major and minor strands in debates on agriculture and development
  • analyse and compare mainstream and heterodox approaches
  • apply both theory and methodology in constructing a critical analysis of the issues for a particular country


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Method of assessment

60% examination, 40% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of no more than 4000 words, worth 40%. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules