APG5628 - Doctrines of development - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Human Geography


Dr Julian Yates

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


What does 'development' mean as a body of ideas that structures systems of power, flows of resources, and social transformations across the globe? What does it mean in practice to intervene - often across diverse cultural contexts - with programmes designed according to these ideas of development? This unit addresses such questions by deconstructing the conceptual and practical pillars of development, and by interrogating similar concepts such as economic growth, progress, and modernisation. In addition to briefly reviewing some early theorisations of development and their links to colonialism and ideas of modernisation, the unit exposes the power-laden and unequal nature of contemporary development as an institutionalised set of practices that rose to prominence after World War II. Using case studies to paint a picture of geographically uneven development today, the unit explores whether development theories correlate with development-in-practice. It also explores the ways in which diverse social groups and social movements resist Western notions of progress, attempting to reclaim development to forge more autonomous pathways to well-being. These alternative pathways raise questions about the normative side of development, and about whether the contemporary development institution should be deconstructed in practice.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. critically assess contributions to development as an academic field that explores the history of development thinking and the spatial patterns of development in practice.
  2. articulate different approaches to and practices of development, and to evaluate various alternatives in light of the most recent scholarly work on contemporary uneven development.
  3. argue for or against the contemporary development paradigm as we know it, with an appropriate degree of personal and socio-political reflection.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

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Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study