Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Anthropology


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to anthropological and other perspectives on, and encourage a critical awareness of issues pertaining to, the study of social change and international development.


  • The module draws out the complexities of changed when viewed in socio-cultural context and explores the implications for development practice and policies. Topics covered include theories of change and development, modernisation, dependency, partisipatory approaches, indigenous knowledge, technology and change, politics of development, social development, skills of development practitioners, local responses to change, multilateral donor agencies and development policy.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Factual Material: Familiarity with the key concepts and theories of development and change.
  • Understand the technical vocabulary used in development contexts.
  • Advanced knowledge of the literature on change and development.
  • Critical understanding of the practice of development and the nature of socio-political constraints.
  • Familiarity with development processes (project cycle, programme management etc.) and agency organisation (multinational, national, NGOs).
  • In-depth knowledge of selected change and development topics.
  • Knowledge of the contribution of anthropology to the understanding of development and social change.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Familiarity with methods employed in the analysis of change and development.
  • Ability to access sources of relevant knowledge (e.g. archives, web etc.).
  • Versed in the skills demanded in development work (e.g consultancy demands).
  • Awareness of cultural relativity and its implications in development contexts.
  • Able to appraise the importance of socio-cultural context to understanding and advising on development issues.
  • Potential to use anthropological skills in development contexts (e.g. particularly methods, social impact analysis etc.).
Key Skills:
  • Practice at identifying, analysing, interpreting and solving problems creatively.
  • Make critical judgments of the merits of arguments and challenge received conclusions on topics and controversies.
  • Search information sources effectively (e.g. libraries, internet) and use data and literature effectively.
  • Use information technology and relevant tools and packages.
  • Ability to structure and communicate ideas effectively in written reports.
  • Summarise and defend an interpretation of a controversy.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures: provide a traditional method of communicating not only fact but clear understanding of process and the relationship between issues. They are used for the primary delivery of material, along with videos with discussions and associated seminar topics. Lectures allow clear transmission of information in an active learning environment where students can question and seek clarification. Lectures are used to convey subject knowledge, as listed above.
  • Seminars: provide an opportunity for students to discuss a series of topics and make oral presentations. Difficult, sensitive and unresolved issues can all be approached successfully through discussion in seminars. Seminars will cover topics relevant to the content of the module. Seminars imply a higher degree of student involvement and teach the subject-specific and key skills listed above.
  • Summative essay: tests skills in understanding, analysis, information collection and presentation, while the final written examination tests assimilated knowledge and understanding and the ability to write succinctly and analytically at short notice (all learning outcomes for the module).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 weekly 1 hour 22
Tutorials 4 2 in Michaelmas, 2 in Epiphany term 1 hour 4
Seminars 4 weekly 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 270
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Word Project Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
word project 2000 words 100%
Component: Unseen Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two seminar presentations on project plans and project progress. Seminar notes plus references are submitted for assessment purposes.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University