Development & Social Change

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHE3ED1034

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon/Winter Semester, as required

Course Coordinator: Prof. Asmita Kabra

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Aim/Description:

This course aims to provide students with a rounded understanding of key theories that inform thinking about development, knowledge of the historical experience of development, and an understanding of some of the most significant policy debates about contemporary international development and geopolitics. In doing so, it aims to integrate the concepts and perspectives of a range of social science disciplines to demonstrate how they can usefully be combined to further understanding of problems of development and social change.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will have a well-rounded understanding of key theories that have informed the idea of development. They will be informed about the diverse experiences of development in different parts of the world. They will understand of some of the most significant debates about sustainable development.

Course Outcomes:

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Read, comprehend and analyze complex texts pertaining to economic development in the global South
  2. Critically analyze development discourses from different social science disciplines like economics, sociology and political science
  3. Understand the role of power and politics in the pursuit of sustainable development
  4. Understand real world development problems through country case studies
  5. Analyze and synthesize data on indicators of development and sustainability from a variety of sources like the UN, World Bank etc.
  6. Critically evaluate ideas, evidence and experiences of development issues and challenges in different countries from an open-minded and reasoned perspective
  7. Learn about diverse values and beliefs about development from multiple cultures and with a global perspective
  8. Pursue careful field-based enquiry into the ‘big questions’ of justice, well-being and sustainability in local, empirical contexts
  9. Identify sources of data and information to pursue lifelong, self-directed learning about issues and debates on sustainable development

Brief description of Main modules:

1. Conceptualizing Development

This module will take students through varied historical contexts that generated different paradigms of development thinking as well as different conditions for initiating development processes, focusing on the post-Second World War period. Scholars will learn about the various meanings and measures of development, and place them in the historical context of colonialism.

Key Readings:

  • Chirot, Daniel (2000) How Societies Change, Thousand Oaks CA: Pine Forge Press.
  • Hulme, D. (2010) Global Poverty. Routledge.
  • McMichael, Philip (2007) Development and Social Change Pine Forge Press.
  • Porter, PW and ES Sheppard (198), “A World of Difference: Society, nature, development”, New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Stewart, F., R. Saith and B. Harriss-White (eds) (2007) Defining Poverty in the Developing World. Blackwell.
  • Todaro, M. P and S.C. Smith. Economic Development (8th Edition). New Delhi, Pearson Education Asia.

2.The Development Project

This unit will engage with different debates around states and markets and experiences of the developmental state. Beginning from the post-Second World War period, it will introduce students to the Bretton Woods system of international economic governance, and identify the key concerns of this system. It will also expose students to concrete experiences of attempts at overcoming underdevelopment, such as the Latin American, South Asian, East Asian, and African cases. The module will end with the reasons underlying the International Debt Crisis.

Key Readings:

  • Amsden, Alice H. (1990), "East Asia's Challenge--To Standard Economics." American Prospect, Summer 1990, Pp. 71-77.
  • Amsden, Alice H. (1991), “Diffusion of Development: The late-industrializing Model and Greater East Asia”, The American Economic Review 81(2), 282-86.
  • Amsden, Alice H. (1992), Asia’s Next Giant: South Korea and Late Industrialization.
  • Evans, B. Peter ‘Predatory, Development, and Other Apparatuses: A Comparative Political Economy Prespective on the Third World State’, Sociological Forum, Vol. 4, 1989, Plenum Publishing Corporation.
  • Evans, Peter (1998), “Transferable Lessons: Re-Examining the Institutional Prerequisites of East Asian Economic Policies.” The Journal of Development Studies, Aug 1998, 34, 6, 66-85.
  • Johnson, Chalmers (1987), “Political Institutions and economic performance: the government-business relationship in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.” In Frederic C. Deyo, ed., The Political Economy of the New Asian Industrialism. Cornell University Press, pp. 147-162
  • Kohli, A. (2006a). Politics of economic growth in India, 1980-2005: Part I: The 1980s. Economic and Political Weekly, 41(13), 1251-1259.
  • Kohli, A. (2006b). Politics of economic growth in India, 1980-2005: Part II: The 1990s and Beyond. Economic and Political Weekly, 41(14), 1361-1370.
  • Kohli, Atul (2004), State-Directed Development: Political Power and Industrialization in the Global Periphery.Cambridge University Press.
  • Krueger , Anne O ‘Government Failures in Development’, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 4, No.3 (Summer, 1990), p. 9-23, American Economic Associaton.
  • Krueger, Anne O. (1990), “Government Failures in Development.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 4, No. 3 pp. 9-23.
  • Peter Evans, “The State as Problem and Solution: Predation, Embedded Autonomy and Structural Change.” In Stephan Haggard and Robert R. Kaufman, eds., The Politics of Economic Adjustment Princeton University Press, 1992, pp. 139-81
  • Wade , Robert ‘Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization’, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

3.The Globalization Project

This unit will discuss the conditions behind initiation of Washington Consensus reforms and the advent of neoliberalism in the 1980s. It will also analyze the genesis of the global financial crisis of 2008, and examine global economic governance and emerging post-Washington Consensus developments in international geopolitics (including the rise of BRICS nations).

Key Readings:

  • Nayyar, Deepak (2002), “Governing Globalization: Issues and Institutions”, UNU-WIDER.
  • Abramsen, Rita. 2004. Poverty Reduction or Adjustment by Another Name?. Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 31, No. 99, ICTs 'Virtual Colonisation' & Political Economy (Mar., 2004), pp. 184-187.
  • Chang, Ha-Joon :The East Asian Development Experience the Miracle, the crisis and the Future”
  • Chang, H-J. (ed) (2002), “Rethinking Development Economics”, London: Anthem Press.
  • Fine, Ben (2010) 'Global Economic Crisis: Some Questions and Alternative.' South African Labour Bulletin, 34 (1). pp. 41-43.
  • Fine, Ben and Jomo, KS, eds. (2006) The New Development Economics: After the Washington Consensus. Delhi: Tulika; London: Zed Press.
  • Fine, Ben and Lapavitsas, Costas and Pincus , Jonathan, eds. (2001) Development policy in the 21st century: beyond the post-Washington consensus. London: Routledge.
  • Gereffi, Gary and Stephanie Fonda (1992), “Regional Paths of Development”, Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 18 pp. 419-448.
  • Rodrik, Dani. 2006. “Goodbye Washington Consensus, Hello Washington Confusion? A Review of the World Bank’s Economic Growth in the 1990s:Learning from a Decade of Reform”. Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. XLIV (December 2006), pp. 973–987.
  • Rodrik, Dani. The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy. W.W. Norton, New York and London, 2011.
  • Saith, Ashwani. Goals set for the Poor, Goalposts set by the Rich. I I A S Newsletter. Autumn 2007.
  • Stiglitz, Joseph (2003) Globalization and Its Discontents, Norton.
  • Vandemoortele, Jan. 2010. The MDG Story: Intention Denied. Development and Change, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2010.01678.x

4.Twenty first Century Challenges to Development

This unit will enable students to examine the concept of development more critically in the context of the changed geopolitics and snowballing environmental crises of the 21st century. They will be able to address questions like: Who decides what is development, for whom, and with what consequences? They will be able to use post-development theories to understand the intricate links between economic growth and development on the one hand and poverty, inequality and environmental degradation on the other. Alternative formulations of the idea of development will be discussed in detail in this unit.

Key Readings:

  • Baviskar, A. In the Belly of the River: Tribal Conflicts over Development in the Narmada Valley. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Beneria, Lourdes and Gita Sen (1981), ‘Accumulation, Reproduction, and ‘Women’s Role in Economic Development’: Boserup Revisited’, Signs 7(2): 279-298.
  • Corbridge, Stuart and Sharad Chari (2008). The Development Reader. Routledge.
  • Crehan, Kate (2003). The Fractured Community: Landscapes of Power and Gender in Rural Zambia. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Diamond, Jared (2005), “Guns, Germs and Steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years”, London, Vintage Books.
  • Ferguson, James (2005), ‘Seeing like an Oil Company: Space, Security and Global Capital in Neoliberal Africa’, American Anthropologist 107(3): 277-382.
  • Ferguson, James (2006), ‘Decomposing Modernity’, in Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order.
  • Hsu, Carolyn (2005), ‘A taste of modernity: Working in a western restaurant in market socialist China’, Ethnography 6(4): 543-565.
  • Larkin, Brian (2004), ‘Degraded Images, Distorted Sounds: Nigerian Video and the Infrastructure of Piracy’, Public Culture 16(2): 289-314.
  • Nayyar , Deepak and Amit Bhaduri (1996), “An Intelligent Person Guide to Liberalization”, New Delhi, Penguin.
  • Norberg-Hodge, Helena (2009) Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh. California, Sierra Club Books.


There will be 3 types of assessments during the course:






Review Essay 1



Review Essay 2



Term paper