DEVS3013 Classics of Development Theory (5 cr)

Study level:
Advanced studies
Grading scale:
Responsible organisation:
Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Curriculum periods:
2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020



The module aims at developing students' skills in critically analysing the genealogies of development theory and their bearing on today's development thought. During the course, students will examine the Enlightenment origins of concepts of progress anf development, as well as colonialism and ideas of development before and after 1945. The themes covered include the European origins of modernisation theory as well as critical theories of development, such as postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-developmentalism.

Completion methods

Introductory lectures, reading circle. In the reading circle, students will read the assigned chapters and articles for each class and produce analytical presentations of them. The working method includes reading, active participation and class discussion.

Assessment details

Active participation, quality of assignments, time management and teamwork

Learning outcomes

Students will acquire an overall understanding of different theoretical perspectives on development from a social-scientific point of view, with an in-depth understanding of and ability to critically analyse these perspectives in reference to contemporary debates. They will also be able to use a range of historical, political, economic and social concepts and facts in the analysis of development theory.

Study materials

Additional materials will be announced in class.


  • Peet, Richard & Hartwick, Elaine. 2009. Theories of development: contentions, arguments, alternatives.
  • Sen, Amartya. 1999. Development as freedom. (selected parts)
  • Escobar, Arturo. 1995. Encountering development: the making and unmaking of the third world. (selected parts)

Completion methods

Method 1

Select all marked parts
Parts of the completion methods

Teaching (5 cr)

Participation in teaching
Grading scale: