International Development and Democracy


This course introduces students to current issues in international development. Why are some nations rich and others poor? What do we mean when we talk about development? Who are the main actors in international development? What are their interests and strategies? Finally, what role do institutions play for international development? Which institutions? And why should we be concerned about the role of civil society? We start with a theoretical understanding of the concept of development, and discuss different approaches to international development. We get familiar with the resource curse, a situation in which a country with an abundance of natural resources experiences stagnant economic growth. International institutions are a key actor in international development. The course sheds a critical light on their main strategies and common practices for promoting international development. Some institutions appear to be more successful in fostering long-term development than others. We get familiar with different types of institution, discuss the role of democracy, and go further in assessing the quality of governance. A civil society is often claimed to be essential for the working of democracy. We question why this could be the case. The goals of the course are the following. At the end of the course, you have a well-founded overview of relevant topics in international development. You will be familiar with some of the main approaches in the literature and have an overview of key scholarly contributions. You engage in critical thinking and approach complex topics systematically. The course will lead you towards developing your own research questions and assessing it critically with existing literature. You will be able to present your own ideas in a coherent and convincing fashion.