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Theories and Issues in Development - SIMP37


This interdisciplinary course focuses on problems of poverty and human development. As a student you will learn about key issues and problems of development as well as different theoretical perspectives developed to increase our understanding of the preconditions for and content of development.


Current Key Issues in Development Studies

This course is about development and sustainability in times of poverty, inequality and climate change. It is interdisciplinary and attracts students from several social science disciplines and teachers from several departments at Lund University.

A major question addressed throughout the course is why there is poverty amidst plenty despite numerous development policies and comprehensive knowledge about inequality.

In the course we will highlight, discuss, and analyse current key issues in and for development and sustainability such as climate change, food production and distribution, global health, work and labour, democracy and governance, and intersectional inequalities based on age, class, gender, ethnicity, sex, and space.

Beyond these issues, the course offers an overview and critical scrutiny of development theory and the development discourse in a historical and social context. In the light of theoretical perspectives you will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of a range of current and longterm development issues and new sustainability challenges.

The overall aim in this course is to acquire knowledge and skills to critically examine, assess and understand theories, current issues, and long-term debates in development as well as changes over time in relation to various human-environmental conditions. In your own work, and informed by theory and history, you will explore aspects of the issues and their interconnections in further detail. This will promote self-directed and inquiry-based learning and enhance your understanding of development in theory and practice.

The course educates students for research and for professional development work in government agencies, business, NGOs, think tanks, etc. A critical social science approach should prepare you not only for third cycle studies but also for contributions to human development and sustainability, be it as a researcher or as a policymaker, practitioner, or trainer.

In the Words of the Course Coordinator

"The teaching team has evolved over the years in order to be able to offer a broad yet specialised introductory course to development studies. The teaching team is multidisciplinary and we have all worked as teachers within the field of development for many years. Collectively we have field experiences from Africa, Asia and South America. Development studies is interdisciplinary in character to begin with, but we try to let our own disciplinary backgrounds colour our teaching, primarily by focus but also theoretically and in view of methodology used in respective discipline. We strive to complement each other in terms of topics and perspectives but also in ways we teach and give feedback. Our hope is that the variation in course design will stimulate a good learning environment that will benefit the students in multiple ways."

Online course platform

This course uses Canvas as the online course platform. The course platform will be opened two weeks before the course begins to all students who were accepted. Here you will be able to access literature, assignments, announcements, as well as participate in discussions and communicate with teachers. 


The course schedule can be found under the course information on the right. Please note that the final version of the schedule will be made available four weeks before the course begins, and changes may occur until that point. A more detailed schedule will be available on the course platform on Canvas.

Excerpts from student evaluations

“I learned a lot during the seminars and broadened my view about how complex development issues are and how many things you have to take into account if you fully want to understand/address them.”

“The most satisfactory aspect of the course was that) we always identified global issues/problems.”

About the course

Next course period:
2024-09-02 to 2024-10-31

Course schedule:
List view | Calendar view

Course syllabus

Course literature