For students taking the Human, Social and Political Science Tripos.
This paper addresses social, economic, political and moral aspects of development. We draw on anthropology’s capacity to look beyond the obvious institutional and bureaucratic parameters of ‘development’ as an industry, and examine the links between ‘development’, poverty and social justice. Poverty is not only a state of material and physical deprivation but also raises questions of moral obligation and social justice, both among the underprivileged themselves and in the global North.
Key themes: the political-economic and discursive context for development interventions in the global South; the aid industry and its workers; advocacy and ethics; lived experiences and bureaucratic definitions of poverty; political agency among the poor; social movements; health and social policy; infrastructures of development.
We explore the theories and practical involvement of anthropologists and others in development bureaucracies (governmental and non-governmental) and in movements for social justice. We study these in the context of global political economy and ideas about morality and ethics – of involvement in development, of what counts as humanitarianism or human rights, of how we define poverty, and what ‘we’ collectively choose to do about ‘it’.
We seek to relate global dynamics to the lived experiences of people. Most importantly, throughout the course students are encouraged to maintain a critical stance towards the very concept of ‘development’.
Further information including a list of lecture courses and background reading can be found in the Paper Guide in the Paper Resources section to the right of this page.