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

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

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 module

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


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour seminar.

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one blog entry worth 35% of the final grade, and an essay worth 65% of the final grade..


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