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Department of Development Studies

Natural resources, development and change: putting critical anaylsis into practice

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Term 2

This module discusses the role of natural resources in development. Resources that are central to rural livelihoods in Asia and Africa, like water, land, forest, biodiversity and livestock, are the focus. Natural resources governance, management and use are understood as inherently political practices; the course presents the different domains within and mechanisms through which the material and institutional shapes, meanings and outcomes of natural resources governance, management and use are contested. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, the course draws on political economy and political ecology approaches to natural resources, as well as the broad and diverse field of the analysis of natural resources management institutions.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

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

  • an understanding of the major and minor strands in debates on the politics of natural resources management
  • an ability to analyse and compare political economy, political ecology and ‘institutional’ approaches to natural resources management
  • an ability to apply both theory and methodology to a selected case


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

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.