SDC-36306 Perspectives and Themes in International Development Studies


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work28
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. GM Verschoor
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. SR Bush
dr. ir. GM Verschoor
prof. dr. EH Bulte
prof. dr. ir. CJAM Termeer
prof. dr. ir. C Leeuwis
Examiner(s)dr. ir. GM Verschoor

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Social science BA or BSc

Continuation courses:

CPT-36806 Critical Reflection on Research in International Development Practice


Development Studies shifted significantly the last 50 years as a result of broader societal and scientific transformations. Initially comprising development economics and sociology, it now also includes anthropology, political science, communication and innovation studies, and science, technology and society studies. In Wageningen, together these disciplines focus on social transformation processes related to livelihoods, agro-food networks and the environment.
This common course of the Master International Development Studies (MID) gives insight in the paradigm shifts that have occurred in Development Studies. It adopts a diachronic approach, focusing on 'modernization' (from the post-WWII to the early 1970s), 'globalization' (from the mid-1970s to the beginning of the new Millennium), and the contemporary concern with sustainability and global governance processes. What these periods have in common is the intense competition between co-existing development paradigms. By studying and exploring the way in which these paradigms (and their underlying conceptual apparatuses) gradually changed, this common course provides a critical grounding of the field of Development Studies.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain how different disciplines have been applied to the field of international development studies, and contrast the similarities and differences in this regard as they pertain to the four specializations of MID;
- distinguish the way in which different disciplinary perspectives on international development are linked to broader changes in science (epistemology) and shifts in livelihoods, agro-food networks and the environment, and outline the reasons for these linkages;
- assess the value of different themes and theoretical modes of thinking in the domain of international development studies;
- use their in-depth insights about the evolution of specializations to past and current problems in the domain of MID by translating these insights in role playing exercises and thereby practice gamma-gamma-integration.


Lectures, tutorials and group work assignments (writing of speech, policy brief, panel discussion).


- written examination with open questions (70%);
- assignments (30%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.


Articles and background material needed for the assignments available in Learning Environment@WUR.

Compulsory for: MIDInternational Development StudiesMSc1MO