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Theories of Global Development

6. Post-Development Approaches

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about post-development approaches which challenge the fundamental concept of development, focusing in particular on: (i) The Development Dictionary, a 1992 collection edited by Wolfgang Sachs, which established the key ideas of post-development theory; (ii) Arturo Escobar’s critique of development as an external imposition from the Global North which does not consider local perspectives and interests; (iii) some criticisms of post-development theory, such as its refusal to acknowledge benefits of development and its failure to offer practical solutions to issues like poverty.


In this course, Professor Katie Willis (Royal Holloway, University of London) explores theories of global development. In the first lecture, we look at development as a contested concept, and at some of the ways it has been defined and measured. In the second lecture, we consider modernisation theories and their development since the Cold War. In the third lecture, we look at their relationship to neoliberalism. Next, we think about dependency and world systems approaches to explaining different levels of development across the world. In the fifth lecture, we look at sustainable development and the incorporation of environmental issues into development theory and practice. In the sixth and final lecture, we turn to post-development theory and the critique of development as a concept.


Professor Katie Willis is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. She researches a broad range of issues related to migration, gender and global development. Her publications include Unaccompanied Young Migrants: Identity, Care and Justice (2019) (as co-editor), Geographies of Developing Areas: The Global South in a Changing World (2014) (as co-author), and Theories and Practices of Development (2005).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Willis, K. (2021, August 23). Theories of Global Development - Post-Development Approaches [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Willis, K. "Theories of Global Development – Post-Development Approaches." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021,

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