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Card-index course

Theories and History of Development: From the notion of the "Third World" to the Millennium Development Goals

Théories et histoire du développement : de la notion de Tiers Monde aux Objectifs du Millénaire

Responsible Faculty: Faculty of Geosciences and Environment (FGSE)

Teacher(s): Ronald Jaubert, Christophe Mager, René Véron
Lecturer(s): -

Validity: 2011 -> 2011

No timetable defined.


Spring semester
2 hours per week
28 hours per semester

Teaching language(s): French
Public: Yes
Credits: 0


At the end of the semester, the students will have developed their:
1. knowledge of key concepts in the field of Development Studies;
2. understanding of main theories of development in their political-historical context;
3. ability to compare, evaluate and critique the different theories of development;
4. understanding of the links between development theory and practice;
5. idea of development jargon and practice;
6. recognition of the complexity of development processes in the global South and the complications associated with outside interventions.


This course is an introduction to Development Studies from a geographical perspective and an overview of major development theories from the post-war period to the present. Development Studies constitute an applied and interdisciplinary academic field that examines the processes, strategies, programs and projects of development in the global South with the aim to evaluate and improve policies and projects intending to benefit poor populations.

After a brief introduction to the concept of development, the course examines, in a first part, the 'grand theories' of development of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. These theories and their results in the 'real world' form a basis to understand the rise of the current neoliberal mainstream. In a second part, the neoliberal mainstream, its revisions and critics will be discussed. These recent theories have also influenced the contemporary approches applied in international cooperation and the current concerns regarding development -- some of which will be introduced in a third part of the course.

The course focuses on generalizing approaches at the macro level, but case studies accompany our critical analyses.


Written exam (2 hours)


Manuel de référence :
Desai & Potter (dir.) (2008) The companion to development studies. 2e édition. London: Hodder Education.

Une bibliographie complète sera distribué au début du semestre.

Programme requirements

Good English reading skills. The majority of the readings are in English.

Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15