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IDSA01H3 Midterm: Mid term / Lecture Notes

International Development Studies
Course Code
Leslie Chan
Study Guide

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IDSA01 Lecture Notes Sahithyaa J
September 11. 2019
What is “Development Studies”?
Learning Objectives
1. “Development Studies”
2. Pluralistic, Contested?
3. Evolving concept
4. “Conventional wisdoms” in development
a. Looking at formulas to develop success
b. Why didn’t it work?
c. Challenging conventional wisdoms
5. Power of “framing”
a. The way one frames an issue affects how it can be conveyed?
b. Perspectives
c. How an issue is “framed”
What is DS?
Kinds of questions asked?
o Why are…. like this….?
By whom?
o Who studies and practise development?
o Organization? Business?
o What context
What methods or theoretical frameworks?
o Lenses by which one asks questions
o Find solution based on theoretical understanding
o Using background knowledge, one already has
Development Studies The Past
Traditional focus on foreign aid
o Helping countries when in need
o Rich country help poor giving stuff and money
National development nation building
o How a country was brought up
o No country is brought up peacefully
o What did a country go through?
§ War between political people
o How an identity is framed?
§ What’s the same with their neighbour / different
Economic growth and poverty reduction
o National / global
o How do we provide happiness?
Modernization and Industrialization
o Which country has best model?
o Country leaders in various aspects
o Poor -> rich countries
o Non industrial -> industrial make more money

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Development Studies The Present
Beyond Economic Indicators
o Importance of human agency
§ Development as Freedom
o Community well being
§ Making sure everyone around us is growing well
§ People are more self centered
o Social justice and human rights
§ If people lose freedom = problems
§ Poor countries don’t cause much climate damage (non- industrialized) compared to rich
countries creates greater impact to climate
o food sovereignty
§ central framework to understand development
§ food is a cultural aspect for people
Nature of Explanation
Scientific approach:
o Positivist (there is a “real world” can experience through our senses, “you believe what you
see”), empirical (you can observe something -> be able to make sense out of it), hypothetical
deductive methods
o Scientists tend to trust what they can measure
o Studies practises from scientific way
o Converts info into scientific format
o Gets info from ideas, data gathering
o Cause and effect work in a direct manner
Critical social science:
o Structural analysis, historical methods, comparative, case studies
o Skeptical of traditional science stats, graphs, data: does not match reality
o Can make predictionhowever not made from real world experiences
o Talk to people
o Get direct info
o Think of systems composed of many different parts - complex
o Not always based on direct observation
o The “system” allows things to perpetuate
§ Ex: Education
o Will talk about primary quality observations
§ Looking through historical contexts, origins
Different ways of framing research questions and seeking answers
DS is complicated
Want to try ideas from many lenses, theories and sources
Using multiple disciplinary to understand common challenges of humanities
Drawing ideas, conceptual frameworks, and methodologies from history, economic, anthropology,
health, political sciences, environmental science, geography, education and more
Critical DS
Who has power and who doesn’t helps understanding development process

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Who can make decisions, access resources?
o Why is power so unevenly distributed?
How systems can preserve power
o Then we can challenge and disturb the dynamic of power
To understand power need to understand politics, history and colonialism
Cross discipline or lack of discipline?
o Broad range of preferences no boundaries
o Need to access situations
Development as Science / Development as unfolding history?
o Quantitative, evidence based, empirical
o Qualitative, case studies, comparison
Micro vs. Macro
o Small communities vs. global scale
o How to connect small things to a larger issue
o How people manage their daily lives
Policy vs evidence
o Evidence based policy
§ A lot of policies are not based off of evidence
o Ex: Trump wanting to cut rich people tax
o Policy decides our lives
Local, national or global focus
o Focusing on one’s own nation rather than the world
o Ex: Brexit Britain wanting to leave European Union
Small development vs Big development
o Many projects around the world
o Involves a lot of investment
o SD: within a specific area / region
o BD: Connects
o Example of Mega project: Trans Canada Pipeline, Hong Kong Macau bridge
Scales vs Sustainability
o Small scale project that can’t be built up further
o Having many small ideas without thinking about funding
o Good ideas but don’t work on larger scale because of various challenges
o Not just cost but ideological difference, religious differences
§ Ideas can be rejected due to cultural reception
As a field of study and as a Field of Action
o Theory and Practise
§ Constantly testing out various things
§ Both don’t always work together
§ Finding a good balance
Public / Private Partnership
o Celebrities have many private foundations
§ Can we rely on someone who created the problem?
o Public companies hide private company money donations
o Private partnerships can be problematic
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