BSc Global Development with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Making 'Development' Happen: North-South Perspectives on Development Cooperation

Course unit fact file
Unit code MGDI30702
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This aim of this course unit is to familiarise students with how existing systems of development cooperation function and the role of key actors (including multilateral and bilateral donors and NGOs in the global North and South) within these aid structures. Students will learn about how this prevalent aid architecture upholds power inequalities between the Global North and South and will explore recent changes and momentum in development cooperation towards more localised and locally-led development.

Aims

The unit aims to:

  1. Provide students insight into existing systems of development cooperation function and the role of key actors (including multilateral and bilateral donors and NGOs in the global North and South) within these
  2. Provide a critical overview of aid architecture, with a focus on how this architecture upholds power inequalities between the Global North and South
  3. Explore recent changes and momentum in development cooperation towards more localised and locally-led development.

Syllabus

Syllabus (indicative curriculum content):

The course is divided into two main parts. Following on from an introductory lecture that provides and overview of the main stakeholders in development cooperation and the importance of taking a decolonised approach to our understanding and analysis of this system, the first set of lectures explores this global architecture of development cooperation in more detail. This will include lectures on the role of: i) multi- and bilateral donors and global frameworks for promoting global development ii) South-south cooperation iii) NGOs in the Global North iv) NGOs and broader civil society in the Global South. Across all of these lectures, students will begin to understand the inequalities that characterise relationships across the Global North and South.

The second set of lectures will explore contemporary efforts to address criticisms within these systems, including racism within the aid sector that privileges Northern actors when it comes to knowledge hierarchies and the concentration of power and resources when it comes to ‘what’ development is driven and how. Several case studies will explore how different actors have attempted to shift the power to Global South and analyse successes and challenges within these experiences. For example, we will explore the Dutch Government’s approach to pursuing more transformative and Southern-centred development through their Dialogue and Dissent and Power of Voices policy frameworks, recent attempts within the NGO sector to localise development (a Northern perspective) and demand more power and resources in the Global South through the Shift the Power movement (a Southern perspective), and explore proposals for a radical reimagining of the sector.

Teaching and learning methods

This course will use an innovative structure, with core lectures from GDI staff complemented by online or pre-recorded guest lectures from practitioners in the Global North and South. Through this we will take a decolonised approach to understanding development cooperation that accounts for the diverse experiences and perspectives of multiple stakeholders across the Global North and South.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Identify and the main actors in development and understand their roles in development processes key roles of the main actors within it (e.g. donors, NGOs in the Global North, and civil society in the Global South).
  • Synthesise roles, and structural barriers or opportunities for addressing global power inequalities in contemporary system of aid
  • Critically apply relevant concepts and theories to explain development processes and structures in systems of aid (e.g. power, legitimacy and accountability)

Intellectual skills

  • Critically analyse the ways in which multiple actors uphold power inequalities between the Global North and South.
  • Evaluate efforts made by donors and NGOs to transfer more power and resources to the Global South.
  • Evaluate the role of Southern actors in changing the status quo.
  • Interrogate and evaluate the diverse perspectives of different actors within the system of development cooperation.

Practical skills

  • Able to discuss the decolonisation agenda in the context of development cooperation
  • Display communication skills for different audiences (e.g. blog writing, audio/visual presentations such as podcasts and slides)
  • Work effectively in small teams.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Be confident working in teams and presenting
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate problem solving skills

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 25%
Set exercise 75%

Recommended reading

Banks, N., & Bukenya, B. (2022). Northern and Southern non-governmental organizations. In The Routledge Handbook of Global Development (pp. 106-118). Routledge.

Bayat, A. (2000) From 'Dangerous Classes' to 'Quiet Rebels': Politics of the Urban Subaltern in the Global South. International Sociology 15 (3): 533-57

Satterthwaite, D. and D. Mitlin (2014) Reducing Urban Poverty in the Global South, Abingdon: Routledge (Especially chapters 4 Citizen-Led Poverty Reduction and 5 Understanding Pro-Poor Politics and Pro-Poor Transformation).

Mitlin, D. (2018) ‘Beyond contention: urban social movements and their multiple approaches to secure transformation’ Environment and Urbanization

Mitlin, D. (2008) ‘With and Beyond the State – Co-Production as a Route to Political Influence, Power, Transformation for Grassroots Organizations. Environment and Urbanization. 20(2): 339 – 360.
 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nicola Banks Unit coordinator
Erla Thrandardottir Unit coordinator

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