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Department of Development Studies

Rural livelihoods, Contested Natural resources and Globalisation (MSc RID)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

This course is only available to students enrolled on the MSc Research for International Development programme.

The aim of this module is to discuss 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.

This course will be delivered alongside the parallel course, 'Contested natural resources, rural livelihoods and globalisation', worth 22.5 CATS credits. Students will have the opportunity to attend all lectures and tutorials, but the examinable component will be approximately 75% of the 22.5 CATS credits syllabus. The following topics will not be part of the examinable component of this course: Week 5: Regional / International NR Politics and Week 10: Technology and Landscapes

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

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

  • an understanding of the major and minor strands in debates on the politics of natural resource 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 an essay of no more than 4000 words, worth 40%. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.