SO7007 - Changing Geopolitics and New Development Actors

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What will I learn on this module?

This module aims to provide you with a critical understanding of the key contemporary experiences, policies and debates that characterize international development in a time of significant geopolitical change and shifting relationships. The module will enable you to develop cutting edge and nuanced analyses of the changing landscape of international development, and to locate a range of important actors in the global development arena. The module is split into a number of thematic blocks: 1) an analysis of historical relationships between aid and development, and the predominance of western development agendas and approaches; 2) an exploration of emerging power of BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), new forms of South-South cooperation, and the rise of private actors, and the implications for development theory and practice. This includes the rise of new forms of aid and ‘giving’, and new approaches to development; 3) the module will include a practical assessment ‘role play’ exercise which will apply your understanding of geopolitical change and its impacts, to a real-world case study.

How will I learn on this module?

In this module you will be exposed to often contrasting development debates and practices through research-led and research-tutored teaching and learning approaches. You will be encouraged to reflect critically upon key geopolitical shifts and the ways they are changing development ideas and practice.

The module will be delivered through weekly 3 hour workshops. Sessions will include a mix of lectures, multi-media analysis, seminar-style activities and discussion, a role play exercise, and student-led presentations. The sessions will draw significantly from active research projects in which the module teaching team is involved.

This module will be assessed formatively through presentations and seminar discussion around analyses of critical case studies; and summatively with a 3500-word essay (60%) and a 4-page policy brief (60%). The policy brief will be based on the role play exercise.

You will also be expected to engage in private and self-directed study. The MSc programme, module guide, internet site and tutor prescription will provide a clear framework for this study.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutorial time will be available to all students (on a group or individual basis) during staff ‘office hours’ or upon appointment with a module tutor. Sign up on the office door of staff or email members of staff to request a tutorial time.

You will also have access to the e-learning portal with a dedicated internet site to support this module (currently via 'Blackboard'). The site will include electronic copies of module and lecture materials, further reading materials, important module announcements, tutor advice/guidance and further internet links.

You will receive immediate feedback on formative work during the workshops. Small group work also emphasizes peer-to-peer learning.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Develop a critical understanding of how geopolitical change and the emergence of new development actors influences policies and practices of development
2. Evaluate how different philosophical approaches to aid impact practice and the global politics of development

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Develop an ability to communicate to different stakeholders
4. Assess the relationship between theories and practices of development

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an awareness of how different actors embody different philosophical approaches and practices, how this changes over time, and how this resonates with your own approaches and ideas to development

How will I be assessed?

This module will be assessed formatively through presentations and seminar discussion around analyses of critical case studies; and summatively with a 3500-word essay (60% of module; MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and via a 4-page (A4) (Times New Roman, font size 12) Policy briefing paper (40% of module) – MLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.





Module abstract

The rise of emerging economies (known as the ‘BRICS’: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has significant consequences for International Development with a clear shift from historically Western-dominated strategies, to a new geopolitical landscape with new powers, ideologies and agendas. This module is geared to equip students with an up-to-date understanding about the implications of fast-changing geopolitics, and the roles played by new actors in international development. The module critically assesses the historical role played by western donors, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and implications for development approaches. We then consider new forms of aid and south-south partnership, including the growing role played by philanthropic organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in shaping international development agendas and progress. The module draws heavily on staff expertise and direct research experience, including a real-world case study role play activity. The module is essential study for any career in an ever changing development landscape.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 28 months part-time
3 other options available

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start January 2020 or January 2021

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Module Information

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