SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Political Ecology of Development

Module Code:
Taught in:
Full Year

This is a core module for the MSc Environment, Politics and Development.  It presents a critical perspective on the relationship between environment and development, with a ’political ecology of development’ lens. The module focuses on the dynamics of socio-environmental change, giving attention to its material/economic, political/organisational as well as cultural/ideological dimensions.  In its first half, the module discusses empirical evidence and normative standpoints in relation to environmentalism, the emergence of ‘political ecology’ as a field, the critical perspectives that it was and is inspired by, and the institutional dynamics of socio-environmental change (under the headings governance & policy, markets, conflicts & security, movements). The second part of the module discusses specific ‘political ecologies of....’ and gives an overview of current issues in the field of environment, politics and development.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • demonstrate knowledge of basic concepts and principles of the political ecology of development and the social history of its emergence;
  • demonstrate knowledge of theoretical approaches to the institutional dynamics of socio-environmental change;
  • demonstrate knowledge of core debates on selected thematic areas within the political ecology of development;
  • demonstrate capacity to apply these approaches and frameworks in analysis of environmental controversies.


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

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit two essays each worth 50% of the final grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules