Course code EDS230

EDS230 Development Studies and Aid

Norsk emneinformasjon

Search for other courses here

Showing course contents for the educational year 2020 - 2021 .

Course responsible: Esben Leifsen
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
The course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel, .
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2013-2014
Preferential right:
Course contents:

This is a course about ‘big D’ and ‘little d’ development; on the one side planned development interventions carried out by actors and institutions integrated into the development aid sector, and on the other side diverse initiatives and visions regarding positive social change and transformation.

In the first part of the course students are introduced to the rationale, history and theory of ‘big D’ development aid. We look at the aid sector and the ways it operates and changes. Students learn about key actors, institutions and modalities of aid, and they will also be introduced to explanations regarding aid failure and learn about successful development projects. We focus on the policies of aid conditionality formulated and practiced by the International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and we discuss the principle and practice of ‘putting people first’ in development aid. This part of the course will also discuss how the aid sector produces knowledge that guide development interventions, and why aid effectiveness is a central concern in current development aid practice.

In the second part of the course we look at some of the current changes that challenge the development aid sector. We start by considering a debate about how the current distribution of global inequality redefines the ‘geographies of development’ - the division of the world into geographical categories as the North and the South. This is followed by a discussion of the implications of South - South cooperation and the making of a multipolar development world; a world with several centers defining what development policies should entail. Additionally, we question the role conventional development is considered to have in the green shift and as a response to the current global environmental crisis. Based on the insight gained from addressing these issues, the students explore ‘little d’ development alternatives - alternative ways of thinking and working for positive social change and transformation. In relation to this we discuss initiatives that grow out of the post-development critique, and we look particularly at examples presented in the new ‘Pluriverse: A post-development dictionary’. 

Learning outcome:

By actively participating in this course the students will

  • be familiar with institutions and actors within the aid industry and the different stances on the merits of aid,
  • have core knowledge about critical perspectives on development thinking and practices, drawing on critical social theory,
  • engage in thinking about current perspectives on development and changing constellations of power in a multipolar world,
  • have a basic insight into some alternative understandings of development from decentered academic positions outside the Global North,
  • be familiar with some examples of alternative development models and ways these are put into practice. 

Through the course the students also develop:

  • academic discussion skills; linking readings to group and plenary discussions of specific themes,
  •  information search and presentation skills through the work in seminars,
  • academic writing skills.

The students also relate to and are challenged by ethical dilemmas central to the field of studies of development, aid and politics.

Learning activities:
Lectures, use of podcasts, seminars and guided group work and presentations, one writing exercise . 
Teaching support:
Weekly meeting hours with teacher will be deifined.
A literature list with selected book chapters and articles will be available in due time before course start.
Recommended prerequisites:
EDS 101, EDS 102, EDS 104
Mandatory activity:
Mandatory group work and presentation.  

- Writing of one individual paper, counts 50%

- Final oral exam, counts 50%

Nominal workload:
300 hours
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
24 (12 X 2) hours of lectures 24 (12 X 2) hours of seminars. 
External examiner will be involved in the evaluation of the final oral exam.
Examination details: :