Course code EDS230

EDS230 Global Development and Aid

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Lars Kåre Grimsby, Shai André Divon
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 course views aid in a larger context of global development. The students learn about institutions, actors and practices that constitute the aid sector, and about global development trends which in different ways challenge it. Moreover, the students get insight into det plurality of initatives and visions regarding social change and transformation expressed throug development alternatives and alternatives to development. 

In the first part of the course students are introduced to the rationale, history and theory of 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 also about knowledge production within this sector. 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 and the role of NGOs within this approach. In this part of the course students are also introduced to the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) as an example of how a development aid actor works and produces knowledge. 

In the second part we consider debates and perspectives on global trends that challenge the development geography in the 21st century. This include the importance of international initiatives related to South - South cooperation, the implications of a reorientation of development policies based on a new global and universal sustainable development agenda, and finally different interpretations of trends regarding global inequality and their consequences. Inn part three of the course students are introduced to different alternatives to deveopment aid and to dominant development models and practices. We look at various examples within what could be considered reformist and transformative alternatives - from initiatives and issues related to 'green development' to the diversity of post-development thinking and practice. 

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 and discussion in class, use of podcasts and audio visual material, seminars and guided group work and presentations, two writing exercise . 
Teaching support:
The course responsible  will give feed-back to the class in plenary sessions and in smaller groups, to groups working on assignments as well as guidance and feed-back on individual writing assignments.  Outside class hours, educators can be contacted by e-mail or by appointment.
A literature list with selected book chapters and articles will be available in due time before course start. The basic text book for the first part of the course is: Overton, John & Murray, Warwick E. 2021: Aid and development. London: Routledge.
Recommended prerequisites:
EDS101 and EDS102
Mandatory activity:
Mandatory group work and presentation.  

Portfolio assessment

- One individual essay (1000 - 1500 words)

- One term paper (3000 words)

Graded A-F

Nominal workload:

Organised activities: 30 hours of lectures/discussions in class, 16 hours of student-led seminars, and 2 hours guidance in written assignments. Total: 48 hours.

Individual studies and preparations for group presentations 202 hours.

Total: 250 hours.

Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
30 (15 X 2) hours of lectures and discussion, 16 (8 X 2) hours of student led seminars. 
External examiner will be involved in the evaluation of the final oral exam.
Examination details: Portfolio: Letter grades