International Development


Explore some of the books our researchers have published below. For a fuller list of publications, visit the individual faculty pages via the 'People' tab to the left.

Anke Schwittay Creative Universities: Reimagining Education for Global Challenges and Alternative Futures (Bristol University Press, 2021)

creative universities

In this wide-ranging book, Anke Schwittay argues that, in order to inspire and equip students to generate better responses to global challenges, we need a pedagogy that develops their imagination, creativity, emotional sensibilities and practical capabilities. Schwittay proposes a critical-creative pedagogy that incorporates design-based activities, experiential teaching, serious play and future-oriented practices. Crucially, she demonstrates the importance of moving beyond analysing limitations to working towards alternatives for more equitable, just and sustainable futures. Presenting concrete ideas for the re-imagination of higher education, this book is an essential read for both educators and students in any field studying global challenges. 

citizen aidAnne Meike Fechter and Anke Schwittay (eds.) Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism: Development Futures? (Routledge, 2020)  

Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism brings together, under the umbrella terms of citizen aid and grassroots humanitarianism, interdisciplinary research on small-scale, privately-funded forms of aid that operate on the margins of the official development sector. The last decade has seen a steady rise of such activities in the Global South and North, such as in response to the influx of refugees into Europe. The chapters in this volume cover a variety of locations in Asia, Africa and Europe, presenting empirically grounded cases of citizen aid. They range from educational development projects, to post-disaster emergency relief. Importantly, while some activities are initiated by Northern citizens, others are based on South–South assistance, such as Bangladeshi nationals supporting Rohingya refugees, and peer support in the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Hayan. Together, the contributions consider citizen aid vis-à-vis more institutionalised forms of aid, review methodological approaches and their challenges and query the political dimensions of these initiatives. Key themes are historical perspectives on ‘demotic humanitarianism’, questions of legitimacy and professionalisation, founders’ motivations, the role of personal connections, and the importance of digital media for brokerage and fundraising. Being mindful of the power imbalances inherent in citizen aid and everyday humanitarianism, they suggest that both deserve more systematic attention. 

FieldworkInterruptedAlthea-Maria Rivas and Brendan Ciaran Browne (eds.)  Experiences in researching conflict and violence: Fieldwork interrupted  (University of Bristol Press, 2018)

This international, edited collection brings together personal accounts from researchers working in and on conflict and explores the roles of emotion, violence, uncertainty, identity and positionality within the process of doing research, as well as the complexity of methodological choices. It highlights the researchers’ own subjectivity and presents a nuanced view of conflict research that goes beyond the ‘messiness’ inherent in the process of research in and on violence. It addresses the ‘uncomfortable spaces’ of conflict research, the potential for violence of research itself and the need for deeper reflection on these issues. These critical self-reflections and honest accounts provide important insights for any scholar or practitioner working in similar environments. The book's format is unique bringing together a mix of academic chapters, narratives and creative vignettes.

SelwynStruggleBookBenjamin Selwyn  The Struggle for Development (Polity Press, 2017)

The world economy is expanding rapidly despite chronic economic crises. Yet the majority of the world's population live in poverty. Why are wealth and poverty two sides of the coin of capitalist development? What can be done to overcome this destructive dynamic? In this hard-hitting analysis Benjamin Selwyn shows how capitalism generates widespread poverty, gender discrimination and environmental destruction. He debunks the World Bank's dollar-a-day methodology for calculating poverty, arguing that the proliferation of global supply chains is based on the labour of impoverished women workers and environmental ruin. Development theories – from neoliberal to statist and Marxist – are revealed as justifying and promoting labouring class exploitation despite their pro-poor rhetoric. Selwyn also offers an alternative in the form of labour-led development, which shows how collective actions by labouring classes – whether South African shack-dwellers and miners, East Asian and Indian Industrial workers, or Latin American landless labourers and unemployed workers – can and do generate new forms of human development. This labour-led struggle for development can empower even the poorest nations to overcome many of the obstacles that block their way to more prosperous and equitable lives.

UnmakingSweatshopCoverImageRebecca Prentice and Geert De Neve (eds.)  Unmaking the Global Sweatshop: Health and Safety of the World's Garment Workers   (University of Pennsylvania, 2017)

Rebecca Prentice and Geert De Neve’s Unmaking the Global Sweatshop gathers the work of leading anthropologists and ethnographers studying the global garment industry to examine the relationship between the politics of labor and initiatives to protect workers' health and safety. Contributors to this edited volume analyze both the labor processes required of garment workers as well as the global dynamics of outsourcing and subcontracting that produce demands on workers' health. Unmaking the Global Sweatshop argues for an expansive understanding of garment workers' lived experiences that recognizes the politics of labor, human rights, the privatization and individualization of health-related responsibilities as well as the complexity of health and well-being.

The Anthropology of Corporate Social ResponsibilityCatherine Dolan and Dinah Rajak (eds.)  The Anthropology of Corporate Social Responsibility  (Berghahn, 2016)

This book explores the meanings, practices, and impact of corporate social and environmental responsibility across a range of transnational corporations and geographical locations (Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Peru, South Africa, the UK, and the USA). The contributors examine the expectations, frictions and contradictions the CSR movement is generating and addressing key issues such as  the introduction of new forms of management, control, and discipline through ethical and environmental governance or the extent to which corporate responsibility challenges existing patterns of inequality rather than generating new geographies of inclusion and exclusion.

OckwellByrnDavid Ockwell and Rob Byrne  Sustainable energy for all: innovation, technology, and pro-poor green transformations  (Routledge, 2016)

Despite decades of effort and billions of dollars spent, two thirds of people in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to electricity, a vital pre-cursor to economic development and poverty reduction. Ambitious international policy commitments seek to address this, but scholarship has failed to keep pace with policy ambitions, lacking both the empirical basis and the theoretical perspective to inform such transformative policy aims. Sustainable Energy for All aims to fill this gap. Through detailed historical analysis of the Kenyan solar PV market the book demonstrates the value of a new theoretical perspective based on Socio-Technical Innovation System Building. Importantly, the book goes beyond a purely academic critique to detail exactly how a Socio-Technical Innovation System Building approach might be operationalized in practice, facilitating both a detailed plan for future comparative research as well as a clear agenda for policy and practice. These plans are based on a systemic perspective that is more fit for purpose to inform transformative policy ambitions like the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All by 2030 initiative and to underpin pro-poor pathways in sustainable energy access.

Indigenous Communities and Settler ColonialismZoe Laidlaw and Alan Lester (eds).  Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)

The new world created through Anglophone emigration in the 19th century has been much studied. But there have been few accounts of what this meant for the Indigenous populations. This book shows that Indigenous communities tenaciously held land in the midst of dispossession, whilst becoming interconnected through their struggles to do so.

New Media and International DevelopmentAnke Schwittay,  New Media and International Development: Representation and Affect in Microfinance  (Routledge, 2015)

This is an in-depth examination of microfinance’s enduring popularity with Northern publics. Through a case study of, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, and other microfinance organizations, the book argues that international development efforts have an affective dimension. This is fostered through narrative and visual representations, through the performance of development rituals and through bonds of fellowship between Northern donors and Southern recipients. These practices constitute people in the global North as everyday humanitarians and mobilize their affective investments, which are financial, social and emotional investments in distant others to alleviate their poverty. The book draws on ethnographic material from the US, India and Indonesia and the anthropological and development studies literature on humanitarianism, affect and the public faces of development. It opens up novel avenues of research into the formation of new development subjects in the global North.

Colonization and the Origins of Humanitarian GovernanceAlan Lester and Fae Dussart,  Colonization and the Origins of Humanitarian Governance: Protecting Aborigines Across the Nineteenth-Century British Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

How did those responsible for creating Britain's nineteenth-century settler empire render colonization compatible with humanitarianism? Avoiding a cynical or celebratory response, this book takes seriously the humane disposition of colonial officials, examining the relationship between humanitarian governance and empire. The story of 'humane' colonial governance connects projects of emancipation, amelioration, conciliation, protection and development in sites ranging from British Honduras through Van Diemen's Land and New South Wales, New Zealand and Canada to India. It is seen in the lives of governors like George Arthur and George Grey, whose careers saw the violent and destructive colonization of indigenous peoples at the hands of British emigrants. The story challenges the exclusion of officials' humanitarian sensibilities from colonial history and places the settler colonies within the larger historical context of Western humanitarianism.

The Personal and the Professional in Aid WorkAnne-Meike Fechter (ed.)  The Personal and the Professional in Aid Work   (Routledge, 2014)

This book considers how the personal and the professional dimensions are related, and how they matter for aid work. The contributions to this edited volume are based on the assumption that all actors are relevant in development, including national and international aid workers. A key question which the book explores is why the personal so often remains un-acknowledged in development studies, even though its salience for aid workers is well-documented. One possible reason is an implicit narrative of aid work as altruistic and self-sacrificing, which renders it inappropriate to devote much attention to the experiences of development professionals themselves. In order to redress this, this book critically considers the kind of difference they make, and aims to understand how they respond to the challenges of their work. The book explores their efficacy as human beings and employees with individual subjectivities, social and cultural beliefs and practices, and documents how these shape their involvement in development processes.

Remembering GenocideNigel Eltringham and Pam Maclean (eds.)  Remembering Genocide  (Routledge, 2014)

The contributions to this edited collection draw on current research from a range of disciplines to explore how communities throughout the world remember genocide. Whether coming to terms with atrocities committed in Namibia and Rwanda, Australia, Canada, the Punjab, Armenia, Cambodia and during the Holocaust, those seeking to remember genocide are confronted with numerous challenges. Survivors grapple with the possibility, or even the desirability, of recalling painful memories. Societies where genocide has been perpetrated find it difficult to engage with an uncomfortable historical legacy.

The East India Company and the Natural WorldVinita Damodaran, Anna Winterbottom and Alan Lester (eds.)  The East India Company and the Natural World 1600-1850  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

This book is the first to explore the deep and lasting impacts of the largest colonial trading company, the British East India Company on the natural environment. The contributors – drawn from a wide range of academic disciplines - illuminate the relationship between colonial capital and the changing environment between 1600 and 1857.


Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of PleasureSusie Jolly, Andrea Cornwall & Kate Hawkins (eds.)  Women, Sexuality, and the Political, Power of Pleasure  (Zed Books, 2013)

This pioneering collection explores the ways in which positive, pleasure-focused approaches to sexuality can empower women. Gender and development tends to engage with sexuality only in relation to violence and ill-health. Important as this is in challenging violence against women, this negative emphasis dovetails with conservative ideologies associating women’s sexualities with danger and fear. On the other hand, the media, the pharmaceutical industry and pornography celebrate the pleasures of sex in ways that can be just as oppressive, often implying that only certain types of people – young, heterosexual, able-bodied, HIV-negative – are eligible for sexual pleasure. Women, Sexuality and the Political Power of Pleasure brings together challenges to these strictures and exclusions with examples of activism, advocacy and programming from around the world that use pleasure as an entry point for enhancing equality and empowerment for all.

Understanding Global SexualitiesPeter Aggleton, Paul Boyce, Henrietta L Moore, Richard Parker (eds.)  Understanding Global Sexualities - New Frontiers  (Routledge, June 2012)

Over the course of the past thirty years, there has been an explosion of work on sexuality, both conceptually and methodologically. From a relatively limited, specialist field, the study of sexuality has expanded across a wide range of social sciences. Yet as the field has grown, it has become apparent that a number of leading edge critical issues remain.

This theory-building book explores some of the areas in which there is major and continuing debate, for example, about the relationship between sexuality and gender; about the nature and status of heterosexuality; about hetero- and homo-normativity; about the influence and intersection of class, race, age and other factors in sexual trajectories, identities and lifestyles; and about how best to understand the new forms of sexuality that are emerging in both rich world and developing world contexts.

With contributions from leading and new scholars and activists from across the globe, this book highlights tensions or ‘flash-points’ in contemporary debate, and offers some innovative ways forward in terms of thinking about sexuality – both theoretically and with respect to policy and programme development.

Ethical ConsumptionJames Carrier & Peter Luetchford (eds.)   Ethical Consumption: Social Value and Economic Practice  (London: Berghahn Books, March 2012)

Increasingly, consumers in North America and Europe see their purchasing as a way to express to the commercial world their concerns about trade justice, the environment and similar issues. This ethical consumption has attracted growing attention in the press and among academics. Extending beyond the growing body of scholarly work on the topic in several ways, this volume focuses primarily on consumers rather than producers and commodity chains. It presents cases from a variety of European countries and is concerned with a wide range of objects and types of ethical consumption, not simply the usual tropical foodstuffs, trade justice and the system of fair trade. Contributors situate ethical consumption within different contexts, from common Western assumptions about economy and society, to the operation of ethical-consumption commerce, to the ways that people’s ethical consumption can affect and be affected by their social situation. By locating consumers and their practices in the social and economic contexts in which they exist and that their ethical consumption affects, this volume presents a compelling interrogation of the rhetoric and assumptions of ethical consumption.

Discordant Development: Global Capitalism and the Struggle for Connection in BangladeshKaty Gardner,  Discordant Development: Global Capitalism and the Struggle for Connection in Bangladesh   (London: Pluto Press, Feb. 2012)

What happens when a vast multinational mining company operates a gas plant situated close to four densely populated villages in rural Bangladesh? How does its presence contribute to local processes of ‘development’? And what do corporate claims of ‘community engagement’ involve? Drawing from author Katy Gardner’s longstanding relationship with the area, Discordant Development reveals the complex and contradictory ways that local people attempt to connect to, and are disconnected by, foreign capital.

Everyone has a story to tell: whether of dispossession and scarcity, the success of Corporate Social Responsibility, or imperialist exploitation and corruption. Yet as Gardner argues, what really matters in the struggles over resources is which of these stories are heard, and the power of those who tell them.

Based around the discordant narratives of dispossessed land owners, urban activists, mining officials and the rural landless, Discordant Development touches on some of the most urgent economic and political questions of our time, including resource ownership and scarcity, and the impact of foreign investment and industrialisation on global development.

Workers, state and development in BrazilBen Selwyn,  Workers, State and Development in Brazil: Powers of labour, chains of value  (Manchester University Press, Feb 2012)

How do changing class relations contribute to processes of capitalist development?

Within development studies the importance of class relations is usually relegated to lesser status than the roles of states and markets in generating and allocating resources. This book argues that the changing class relations are central to different patterns of capitalist development and that processes and outcomes of class struggle co-determine the form that development takes.

Workers, state and development in Brazil illuminates these claims through a detailed empirical investigation of class dynamics and capitalist development in North East Brazil’s São Francisco valley. It details how workers in the valley’s export grape sector have won significant concessions from employers, contributing to a progressive pattern of regional capitalist development.

In Good CompanyDinah Rajak,  In Good Company - An Anatomy of Corporate Social Responsibility  (Stanford University Press, 2011)

Under the banner of corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporations have become increasingly important players in international development. These days, CSR's union of economics and ethics is virtually unquestioned as an antidote to harsh neoliberal reforms and the delinquency of the state, but nothing is straightforward about this apparently win-win formula. Chronicling transnational mining corporation Anglo American's pursuit of CSR, In Good Company explores what lies behind the movement's marriage of moral imperative and market discipline.

From the company's global headquarters to its mineshafts in South Africa, Rajak reveals how CSR enables the corporation to accumulate and exercise power. Interested in CSR's vision of social improvement, Rajak highlights the dependency that the practice generates. This close examination of Africa's largest private sector employer not only brings critical attention to the dangers of corporate dominance, but also provides a lens through which to reflect on the wider global CSR movement.

Remittances, Gender and Development: Albania's society and economy in transitionRussell King and Julie Vullnetari, Remittances, Gender and Development: Albania's Society and Economy in Transition  (I.B.Tauris, July 2011).

Migration in the modern world, rather than being seen as a symptom or result of underdevelopment, is now understood more as a route towards development and a strategy for alleviating poverty. This study of Albania is particularly significant in this new debate on migration and development as, since the fall of communism, remittances have been a major supporter of the Albanian economy, sustaining many Albanian families, especially in rural areas. The authors thus focus on the socio-cultural context of remittances, and explore how gender emerges as a powerful facet in the processes of development. It will therefore be of interest to scholars and students in Migration Studies, Development Studies, Gender Studies, Geography and Anthropology, as well as offering vital analysis for policy-makers, donors and civil society activists engaged in development planning and migration management.

Fatness and the Maternal BodyMaya Unnithan-Kumar and Soraya Tremayne (eds), Fatness and the Maternal Body: Women's Experiences of Corporeality and the Shaping of Social Policy (Berghahn, July 2011).

Obesity is a rising global health problem. On the one hand, a clearly defined medical condition, it is at the same time a corporeal state embedded in the social and cultural perception of fatness and body shape and size. Focusing specifically on the maternal body, contributors to the volume examine how the language and notions of obesity connect with, or stand apart from, wider societal values and moralities to do with the body, fatness, reproduction, and what is considered “natural.” A focus on fatness in the context of human reproduction and motherhood offers instructive insights into the global circulation and authority of biomedical facts on fatness (as "risky" anti-fit, for example). As with other social and cultural studies critical of health policy discourse, this volume challenges the spontaneous connection being made in scientific and popular understanding between fatness and ill health.

The Participation ReaderAndrea Cornwall, The Participation Reader (Zed Books, May 2011).

Calls for greater participation of those affected by development interventions have a long history. This expert reader explores the conceptual and methodological dimensions of participatory research and the politics and practice of participation in development. Through excerpts from the texts that have inspired contemporary advocates of participation, accounts of the principles of participatory research and empirical studies that show some of the complexities of participation in practice, it offers a range of reflections on participation that will be of interest to those new to the field and experienced practitioners alike. Bringing together for the first time classic and contemporary writings from a literature that spans a century, it offers a unique perspective on the possibilities and dilemmas that face those seeking to enable those affected by development projects, programmes and policies.


Inside the Everyday Lives of Development WorkersAnne-Meike Fechter and Heather Hindman (eds),  Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: The Challenges and Futures of Aidland  (Kumarian, March 2011).

Much and warranted attention is paid to aid recipients, including their livelihoods, saving habits, or gender relations. It is held that a key to measuring the effectiveness of aid is contained in such details. Rarely, however, is the lens turned on the lives of aid workers themselves. Yet the seemingly impersonal network of agencies and donors that formulate and implement policy are composed of real people with complex motivations and experiences that might also provide important lessons about development’s failures and successes.  Anne-Meike Fechter and Heather Hindman break new ground by illuminating the social and cultural world of the aid agency, a world that is neglected in most discussions of aid policy. They examine how aid workers’ moral beliefs interlink and conflict with their initial motivations, how they relate to aid beneficiaries, their local NGO counterparts, and other aid workers, their views on race and sexuality, the effect of transient lifestyles and insider language, and the security and family issues that come with choosing such a career. Ultimately, they arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of development processes that acknowledges a rich web of relationships at all levels of the system

Taking aim at the Arms TradeAnna Stavrianakis’ Taking Aim at the Arms Trade  (Zed Books, June 2010)

This book takes a critical look at the ways in which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) portray the arms trade as a problem of international politics and the strategies they use to effect change. The book analyses the tensions inherent in NGOs' engagement with the arms trade and argues for a re-examination of dominant assumptions about NGOs as global civil society actors.





Deconstructing Development DiscourseAndrea Cornwall and Deborah Eade (eds),  Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords  (Practical Action Publishing, 2010).

Writing from diverse locations, the contributors to this volume examine some of the key terms in current development discourse. Why should language matter to those who are doing development? Surely, there are more urgent things to do than sit around mulling over semantics? But language does matter. Whether emptied of their original meaning, essentially vacuous, or hotly contested, the language of development not only shapes our imagined worlds, but also justifies interventions in real people’s lives. If development buzzwords

Land, Labour and   EntrustmentPamela Kea, Land, Labour and Entrustment: West African Female Farmers and the Politics of Difference (Brill 2010).

Diverse contractual arrangements and forms of exchange established between smallholder farmers, their households and community work groups, are important to our understanding of processes of agrarian transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, little has been written in this area. Challenging portrayals of West African female farmers as a homogenous group, the present study provides an ethnographic account of the contractual relations established between female hosts and migrants, in the exchange of land and labour for agrarian production in a Gambian community. Further, it demonstrates the way in which, despite the liberalization of the economy, local cultural practices, such as that of entrustment, continue to be of significance in affecting the nature and particular character of agrarian transformation and postcolonial capitalist development.