Social Change, Culture and Development (L2107N)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module starts from the observation that development is more than economic change and involves important social and cultural aspects. It begins with an interrogation of the way development practices and ideas are embedded in cultural contexts, and specifically how the development industry is historically and culturally entangled in Western conceptions of progress, rationality, and the individual. Against a view of culture as 'tradition' and an impediment to development we will examine different cultural conceptions of progress. This involves both alternate visions of future development as well as the negative impacts that development policies and interventions have on local people, communities and cultures. Questions of power and cultural relativism inevitably arise: what happens when different interests and commitments collide, and who or what determines the module development interventions take?


67%: Lecture
33%: Seminar


50%: Coursework (Essay)
50%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: