SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Issues in Development Studies

This module familiarizes students with key Development Studies issues, such as how to measure levels of development, poverty, the environment, gender, population, democracy, refugees and migration, micro-finance, and the effects of colonialism on developing countries. It also focuses on theories, concepts, institutions (NGOs, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation), actors and areas of policy and practice that affect the development of countries. Theories and concepts are analysed in order to develop the students’ ability to think critically, to pursue lines of argument rigorously and to consider varying viewpoints. Debates regarding the relationship between forms of democracy and development are evaluated, using corruption as a case study. Bottom-up people-centred approaches to development are also analysed. Economic issues, such as trade and foreign direct investment are examined in a non-technical manner. Case studies from the East Asian Miracle (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand), Africa, the Middle East, India and Latin America are examined. In addition, analytical skills are developed through the use of textbooks and articles containing diverse views and arguments. A questioning approach towards the use of evidence is adopted in both lectures and tutorials. An important aim of the module is to develop the ability to communicate ideas effectively in both written and oral forms. Topics include:

  • development theory
  • poverty, health and famine
  • states, civil society and NGOs
  • globalisation and development
  • the environment, gender and education


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules