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Foundations of Global Development Politics: Rules of the game - POL00106M

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Barnaby Dye
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This core module introduces students to the ‘rules of the game’ that frame the politics of global development. These ‘rules of the game’ refer to formal and informal institutions, alongside the ideas, that undergird processes of negotiation, conflict and cooperation in a society. The module will elaborate the role of institutional settlements that are key to shaping possibilities for economic transformation, projects of state-building and the relations between states and societies. Decolonial thought (introduced in Week 2, ‘connected knowledges’) as well as gender will be cross-cutting themes throughout the module, reflected in case-studies and readings chosen.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This core module aims to outline for students key emerging themes in the study of global development politics. As the first core module undertaken by students, it will run in the autumn semester and offer a framework for the overall program. The purpose of the module is to help students understand the transformations in the global order within which contemporary development processes and projects are embedded. An understanding of these transformations will enable students to appreciate the changing politics of development which make it imperative to consider the global factors shaping development (rather than drivers confined to the Global South).

The assessment has been chosen in response to Faculty and external examiner feedback promoting real-world assessments which prepare students well for the workplace, and in keeping with a Freirean understanding of education as part of a wider project of social transformation and responsibility through critical thinking. Students will be assessed by completing a policy report on a topic covered in the module (100%). The report’s role is to unpack a particular topic, demonstrate its relevance, and draw out policy implications and/or recommendations. Reports will be expected to be theoretically informed as well as practically relevant. Reports should be between 3-4 pages (including visual aids but minus referencing), inclusive of a 1 policy-brief outline.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will know:

  • The historical evolution of ideas about and practices of (global) development

  • The shifting balance of power that frames the contemporary global order and international political economy; and

  • The emerging role of the Global South, and the agency of Global South countries in shaping ideas of development.

Module content

The contents of the module will include:

  • Debates in global development: A connected knowledges perspective

  • A changing global Order: The Institutions governing development

  • Ideas of modernist progress from the 20th to 21st Century

  • The New International Economic Order and its “unfailure”, Washington Consensus, Beijing Consensus and beyond

  • The Developmental State, State-directed development and state-permeated market economies

  • Political Un/settlements

  • The politics of South-south cooperation

  • Transnational infrastructures: China’s investments in South and North

  • The Wall Street Consensus and the Southernisation of development


Task Length % of module mark
Essay : Summative essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules




Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their assessments, including a 500-word formative outline for the policy report. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Dye, B.J., 2022. India’s Infrastructure Building In Africa: South-South Cooperation And The Abstraction Of Responsibility. African Affairs adac013.

Gabor, D., 2021. The Wall Street Consensus. Development and Change 52, 429–459.

Horner, R. and D. Hulme (2020) From international to global development: New geographies of 21st century development. Development and Change 50(2): 347-378. DOI: 10.1111/dech.12379

Mawdsley. E. 2018. The ‘Southernisation’ of Development? Asia Pacific Viewpoint 59(2): 173-185. doi:10.1111/apv.12192

Pailey, R. (2021) De-centering the “White Gaze” of Development. Development and Change 51(3): 729-745. DOI: 10.1111/dech.12550

Quijano, A. (2007) Coloniality and modernity/rationality. Cultural Studies, 21 (2-3), pp. 168-178,

Roy, I. and S. Hickey (Forthcoming) Global development Politics. Routledge.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.