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Unit Overview


This unit provides an overview of the theoretical approaches to understanding development, and how key concepts have historically been translated into policy and action. The concept of development, how it is achieved, the role of relevant actors, and its impacts remain contested. This unit explores the evolution of these contestations, providing students with an understanding of the key debates surrounding the concepts of development, poverty, underdevelopment, and progress. It considers the role of states, markets, institutions, and non-governmental organisations, and their interrelationships, and the discourse surrounding the measurement and evaluation of development outcomes. The unit provides students with an understanding of recent trends in these debates, such as the origin and impact of 'good governance' agendas, the politics of aid programming and foreign policy, and the evolving role of states and markets in the provision of welfare.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) critically evaluate the various meanings of development and analyse how these meanings have developed in particular political, geographic and economic contexts; (2) trace the historical evolution of key development theories, appraising their strengths and limitations; (3) identify and describe the range of actors engaged in development policy and their relationships; (4) critically evaluate debates in the media regarding development issues; and (5) research, develop and deliver critical analyses of development policy and situate these within contemporary debates.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research essay and (2) test. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Richard Vokes
Unit rules
POLS5672 Global Development Debates
Advisable prior study
Bachelor of Arts (BP001) (major in Political Science and International Relations)
Contact hours
seminars: 18 hours
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.