SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Natural Resources, Development and Change: putting critical analysis into practice

Course Code:
15PDSH031
Unit value:
0.5
Taught in:
Term 2

This module discusses approaches to 'doing development politically' as currently practised in the field of natural resources management and governance. It focuses on how critical analysis has been translated into ‘transformative’ frameworks and approaches to development - in government and NGO/CSO projects and programmes. Three introductory sessions focus on i) critical approaches to natural resources and development analysis (political economy, political ecology, critical institutionalism); ii) the challenge of putting critical theory into practice as part of ‘transformative public action’; iii) the science-policy interface. The remaining seven sessions are devoted to discussion of frameworks and approaches for transformative public action in the field of natural resources management and governance. Four sessions focus on the application of specific analytical frameworks in practice (for example, frameworks for analysing access relations, resistance to policy reform, environmental entitlements, hegemony/benefit sharing in transboundary resource governance). Three sessions focus on concrete examples of transformative public action (examples of f.i. participatory research, development entrepreneurship, and action research). For each framework and approach characteristics, underlying assumptions, experiences and critiques are discussed.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this module, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • understand the challenges of translating critical analysis into practice in the field of natural resources management and governance
  • analyse the characteristics, underlying assumptions, experiences and critiques of selected frameworks and approaches
  • critically evaluate a self-selected case example

Workload

Teaching takes place through one three-hour seminar per week – there are no lectures.

Scope and syllabus

PART I: INTRODUCTION

WEEK 1: Introduction

Critical approaches to natural resources management and governance analysis (political economy, political ecology, critical institutionalism); structure of the course.

WEEK 2: From critical analysis to (political) practice

Translating critical theory into frameworks and approaches for action; forms of public action and the type of public action the course focuses on; transformative public action

WEEK 3: The science-policy interface

Transdisciplinary research practice, boundary work, frameworks and approaches as boundary objects.

 

PART II: APPLYING FRAMEWORKS FOR CRITICAL ANALYSIS

WEEK 4: Beyond property rights: mapping access relations

WEEK 5: Addressing poverty: environmental entitlements and livelihoods analysis frameworks

WEEK 6: The politics of policy: engaging with (resistance to) institutional change

WEEK 7: Hydrohegemony and benefit-sharing approaches in transboundary water governance

 

PART III: EXAMPLES OF TRANSFORMATIVE PUBLIC ACTION APPROACHES

WEEK 8: Participatory research

Example to be chosen from IIED or similar environmental (research) NGO

WEEK 9: Development entrepreneurship

Example to be chosen from The Asia Foundation, Oxfam, or similar development organisation

WEEK 10: Action research

Example to be chosen from social movement related research (f.i. in relation to anti-globalisation/global justice movements)     

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of no more than 4000 words (worth 40% of the final grade). Students will also submit a group project of 8000 words (2000 words per student in groups of 4) (worth 40% of the final grade). A presentation by the group of the group project will be worth 20% of the final grade.

Disclaimer

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules