BSc Global Development with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Development

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI10052
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will examine how the challenge of ‘Global Development’ has been understood, interpreted and explained from a variety of disciplinary perspectives (such as politics, economics and political ecology). To do so, the course will examine the role of states and markets in initiating early industrial development and a political and economic reliance on carbon energy in the Global North, including in and around Manchester. The course will then explore the evolution of development theory and how this has been utilised in attempts to bring ‘development’ to the Global South.


The unit aims to:

  • Provide students with an introduction to the ways different academic disciplines have sought to understand, interpret and explain the challenges of global development;
  • Enable students to develop a detailed understanding of the evolution of development theory during the twentieth century;
  • Provide students with an opportunity to learn about the centrality of Manchester and its surroundings to the early development of industrial capitalism; and
  • Equip students with the analytical and research skills required for their future studies.


The course will be structured into 11 lectures and accompanying tutorials, provisionally:

  1. Introduction
  2. Theories of political economy: State and market
  3. Political ecology and sustainability
  4. Industrial capitalism and the carbon economy
  5. Capitalist development, democratisation and the welfare state
  6. Colonialism and the origins of ‘development’ in the Global South
  7. Modernisation and dependency theory
  8. Neo-classical and neo-liberal theories
  9. Good governance and institutions
  10. East Asia’s ‘developmental states’
  11. The environmental consequences of capitalist development

Teaching and learning methods

The course is delivered through weekly lectures and tutorials that will include group work activities including group discussions, student presentations, case study analysis and debates based on the essential advance readings. Students will also be expected to read around the topic using the ‘further reading’ lists provided. In particular, the course will comprise:

  • Weekly lectures (2 hours) that provide an overview of the topic and key issues within it, with space set aside for regular small group discussions of cases, problems and questions to relate lecture content to readings and core themes;
  • Weekly tutorials (1 hour) that will employ a variety of group-based activities including role plays, debates, case study analysis and discussion of key readings.

All slides and essential readings will be provided on Blackboard in advance. All lectures will also be recorded and the recordings will be accessible through the course’s Blackboard site.

In addition, the course will arrange one or more visits outside the university, for example, joining a walking tour of the industrial history of Manchester, visiting the People’s History Museum, arranging visits to a factory / mill located near Manchester. These visits will aim to bring the content of the course to life, develop a greater understanding of the city in which the students are studying and to promote team building amongst the student cohort.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Compare and contrast how different disciplines have understood the challenges of global development;
  • Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the main theories of development employed in the twentieth century;
  • Apply different disciplinary approaches to the analysis of particular country case studies, showing an appreciation of inter-relationships between theories and methods in different social science disciplines.

Intellectual skills

  • Develop and utilise core analytical and critical skills through in-class discussions and individual research projects.

Practical skills

  • Use a range of sources of empirical information and critically evaluate the empirical basis of different approaches to economic development;
  • Collaborate effectively on projects as part of a team, taking joint responsibility for defining and reaching goals and producing outputs.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Organize quantitative and qualitative evidence and information from a wide variety of sources to develop reasoned arguments;
  • Work to deadlines;
  • Communicate effectively in writing.
  • Communicate effectively in the form of a podcast.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Oral assessment/presentation 50%

Feedback methods

Verbal feedback on contributions to tutorial activities will act as formative assessment to prepare students for this summative assessment. Written feedback.

The content and timing of feedback will be consistent with University policy.

Recommended reading

Key readings

Caporaso, J.A. and Levine, D.P., 1992. Theories of Political Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Perreault, T., Bridge, G., and McCarthy, J., 2015. The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology. Routledge.

Robbins, P., 2019. Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction. John Wiley & Sons.

Further reading

Bernstein, H. (2000), ‘Colonialism, capitalism, development’ in T Allen & A Thomas (eds) Poverty and development into the 21st century, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Cardoso, F. H., & Faletto, E. (1979). Dependency and Development in Latin America. University of California Press. [CHAPTER 2]

Frank, A. G. (1966). The development of underdevelopment. Monthly Review. 18 (September), 17-30.

Gore, C. (2000) The Rise and Fall of the Washington Consensus as a Paradigm for Developing Countries, World Development, 28 (5): 789-804.

Harvey D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Oxford University Press [Introduction and Chapter 1].

Hopkins, T. K., & Wallerstein, I. (1977). Patterns of development of the modern world-system. Review (Fernand Braudel Center), 1(2), 111-145.

Kothari, U. (2005) ‘From Colonial Administration to Development Studies: a postcolonial critique of the history of development studies’ in Kothari, U. (ed.) A Radical History of Development Studies: Individuals, Institutions and Ideologies, Zed: London, pp. 47-66.

Krueger, A. (1990) Government Failures in Development, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 4 (3): 9-23.

Lewis, W.A. (1954). ‘Economic Development with unlimited supplies of labour,’ The Manchester School, 22 (2): 139-191.

Malm, A., 2016. Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming. Verso Books.

Mitchell, T., 2013. Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. London: Verso.

Prebisch, R. (1950) The Economic Development of Latin America and Its Principal Problems, New York: United Nations. (available from

Rostow, W. (1956) ‘The Take-off into Self-sustained Growth,’ The Economic Journal, 66 (261): 25- 48.

Rueschemeyer, D., Stephens, E.H., and Stephens, J.D., 1992. Capitalist Development and Democracy. Chicago, IL: University Of Chicago Press.

Williamson, J., 1990. What Washington means by policy reform. In: J. Williamson, ed. Latin American adjustment: How much has happened? 7–20.

Ziai, A. (2020) Neocolonialism in the globalised economy of the 21st century: An overview, Momentum Quarterly, 9(3), 128-140.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicholas Jepson Unit coordinator

Return to course details