P000059, Rural Development in the Global South, 7,5 ECTS

Last changed: 01 November 2023

PhD course within the People, Society and Sustainability Research School (PSS).


Online (via Zoom)




20 PhD students


22 February–8 May, 2024, 1-4 pm Central European Time


8 December 2023


Flora Hajdu (flora.hajdu@slu.se) and

Alin Kadfak (alin.kadfak@slu.se) Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)




This course introduces the research subject Rural Development with a focus on the Global South. It covers the basics about origins and evolution of development as a concept, as well as its critiques, and the thematic areas central to contemporary research and debates in the field. The course is suitable for PhD students early in their studies who need orientation in this research field.

Students will have the opportunity to interact with many high profile researchers and lecturers at the Division of Rural Development, SLU. Through a combination of lectures, interactive seminars and group discussions, students will be able to think through and receive feedback from lecturers on how they may apply the themes from the course in developing their own research. The online format allows students from all over the world to join.

The three lecture weeks are full time, otherwise the studies are part time where students read course material and work on assignments.

“The online format was very good, in such a way that it didn't even seem like we were far from each other” – from student evaluation in 2021



DATE & TIME (Preliminary)


22 Feb, 2024
1–3 pm CET

Introduction to the course

4-10 Mar, 2024
(Week 10 of 2024)
1-3 or 4 pm CET each day

BLOCK ONE: Rural development, post-colonialism, and beyond

The first block will provide an introduction to the evolution of thinking in rural
development, from more "mainstream" approaches to critical development studies, post-colonial critiques, and beyond.

4 Lectures and one seminar on topics: Bird-eye-view of rural development, critiques of development, post-colonial perspectives & authoritarian shift, post-development

18-24 Mar, 2024
(Week 12 of 2024)
1-3 or 4 pm CET each day

BLOCK TWO: Rural transformations

The second block will explore key thematic issues relating to rural transformations including: dynamics of agrarian change in the contemporary era; changing relationships between state, society, and the market; shifts in rural livelihoods; social vulnerability and resilience; and the development interventions that attempt to target rural areas

4 Lectures and one seminar on topics: Agrarian change, smallholders livelihoods, migration and precarious work, development interventions, social protection & cash transfers

8–14 Apr, 2024
(Week 15 of 2024)
1-3 or 4 pm CET each day

BLOCK THREE: Politics of natural resources and the environment

The third block will examine issues relating environmental politics, including: natural resource governance and contestation, the politics of "participation", continuity and change in global environmental agendas and their implications for welfare and justice of resource dependent populations.

4 Lectures and one seminar on topics: Political ecology, power and politics in resource governance, social (in)justice and participation, commoditisation of resources

8 May, 2024

Individual writing of course essay, final meeting and evaluation

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