Development studies

Development studies is a multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues of concern to developing countries. It has historically placed a particular focus on issues related to social and economic development, and its relevance may therefore extend to communities and regions outside of the developing world.

The Development Studies Association [1] is a major source of information for research on and studying in development studies in the UK and Ireland. Its mission is to connect and promote those working on development research.

Development studies is offered as a specialised Master's degree in a number of universities, and, less commonly, as an undergraduate degree. It has grown in popularity as a subject of study since the early 1990s, and has been most widely taught and researched in the third world and in countries with a colonial history, such as the UK, where development studies originated.[1]

Students of development studies often choose careers in international organisations such as the United Nations or the World Bank, non-governmental organisations, private sector development consultancy firms, and research centres.


Disciplines of development studies

Development issues include:


The emergence of development studies as an academic discipline in the second half of the twentieth century is in large part due to increasing concern about economic prospects for the third world after decolonisation. In the immediate post-war period, development economics, a branch of economics, arose out of previous studies in colonial economics. By the 1960s, an increasing number of development economists felt that economics alone could not fully address issues such as political effectiveness and educational provision.[2] Development studies arose as a result of this, initially aiming to integrate ideas of politics and economics. Since then, it has become an increasingly inter- and multi-disciplinary subject, encompassing a variety of social scientific fields.[3][2]

The era of modern development is commonly deemed to have commenced with the inauguration speech of Harry S. Truman in 1949. In Point Four of his speech, with reference to Latin America and other poor nations, he said that "for the first time in history, humanity possess[ed] the knowledge and skill to relieve the suffering of these people.".[4] But development studies has since also taken an interest in lessons of past development experiences of Western countries.

More recently, the emergence of human security - a new, people-oriented approach to understanding and addressing global security threats - has led to a growing recognition of a relationship between security and development. Human security argues that inequalities and insecurity in one state or region have consequences for global security and that it is thus in the interest of all states to address underlying development issues. This relationship with studies of human security is but one example of the interdisciplinary nature of development studies.


Noted academics

See also


  1. ^ Kothari, U. (ed), A Radical History of Development Studies: Individuals, Institutions and Ideologies - but see The Journal of Peasant Studies 34/1 (2007) for an alternative view.
  2. ^ Kothari, U. (ed), A Radical History of Development Studies: Individuals, Institutions and Ideologies
  3. ^ Abbott, Lewis F. Theories of Industrial Modernization and Enterprise Development: A Review. ISR/Google Books, Second revised edition 2003.ISBN 978-0-906321-26-3
  4. ^ Rist, G., The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith

International development studies journals

  • Development & Change
  • Development in Practice
  • Development Policy Review
  • European Journal of Development Research
  • IDS Bulletin
  • Global Governance
  • International Development Policy Series
  • Journal of Development Effectiveness
  • Journal of Development Studies
  • Journal of Human Development
  • Journal of International Development
  • Journal of Peasant Studies
  • Oxford Development Studies
  • Progress in Development Studies
  • Population and Development Review
  • Public Administration and Development
  • Third World Quarterly
  • Undercurrent
  • World Development
  • IS

Further reading

  • Allen, T., Thomas, A. (2000), "Poverty and Development Into the 21st Century", Oxford University Press, The Open University.
  • Ascher, William (2009). Bringing in the Future: Strategies for Farsightedness and Sustainability in Developing Countries. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226029177. 
  • Clark, D.A. (ed.) (2006), The Elgar Companion to Development Studies, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.
  • Chenery, H. and Srinivasan, T.N. (eds), (1988), Handbook of Development Economics, Elseiver, Amsterdam.
  • Kitching, Gavin (1982). Development and Underdevelopment in Historical Perspective. Populism, Nationalism and Industrialisation. Routledge. ISBN 0415034493. 
  • Ibister, J. (2006), "Promises Not Kept: Poverty and the Betrayal of Third World Development" (7th ed.), Kumarian Press, Inc.
  • Lange, Matthew (2009). Lineages of Despotism and Development: British Colonialism and State Power. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226470689. 
  • Maxwell, Simon and Stone, Diane. eds. (2005) Global Knowledge Networks and International Development: Bridges Across Boundaries (Routledge, I-xix; 1-192).
  • Toye, J. (1987), Dilemmas of Development, Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Sachs, W. (Ed.). (2010). The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power (2nd ed.). London: Zed Books.
  • Sen, A.K. (1984), Resources, Values and Development, Basil Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Sen, A.K. (1999), Development As Freedom, Knopf, Harvard.
  • Streeten, P. (1995), Thinking About Development, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

External links

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