Political and International Dimensions of Development

Development, as managed change, is an inherently political process. The exercise of power and resistance to it are at the heart of that process. Research on development, therefore, requires a critical approach to the state and dominant institutions – local, national and international – and an analysis of how power is created and contested at multiple levels.

Our research is characterised by strong disciplinary roots in history, politics, political economy, anthropology and international relations; an interdisciplinary empirical research methodology; and primary fieldwork.

We have internationally recognised strength in regional specialisms and conduct deeply grounded study of particular areas of the global South (Africa, Latin America, South Asia), focussing on analysis from the vantage point of the disadvantaged, linking micro and macro politics.

Research on this theme addresses struggles over land and labour; the drivers and consequences of inequality in a comparative perspective; the environment and natural resources; indigenous communities; knowledge production; global health politics and epidemics; religious identity; urban politics; new forms of work; violence, gender and youth; state power, the law and political mobilisation; the long-term effects of armed struggle and liberation wars; conflict and international peace-keeping; and the politics of digital surveillance, international diplomacy and global cyber-terrorism.

Woman waving a flag during demonstrations in Egypt

Photo: Sarah Smierciak, MPhil in Development Studies 2012-14

In the media
Understanding radicalisation: informing Nigerian policy towards Boko Haram
A history of political imprisonment in Zimbabwe, 1959-2011
Explaining changes in Palestinian and Israeli opinions towards a peace settlement
Market power: traders, farmers, and the politics of class-making in Pakistani Punjab
Reasoning with rebels: how the private authority in rebel enclaves impacts the peace process
India's enterprise culture: social and political implications beyond the economy
New cultures of work in contemporary India
Structural constraints to public goods provision in Punjab
The changing face of internal circular migration in Bihar, India


Aisha Ahmad
Research Student
Jocelyn Alexander
Professor of Commonwealth Studies
Ludovic Arnaud
Research Student
Laura Ballerini
Research Student
Masooda Bano
Professor of Development Studies
Corneliu Bjola
Associate Professor of Diplomatic Studies
Maxim Bolt
Associate Professor of Development Studies
Theodor Borrmann
Research Student
Lise Cazzoli
Research Student


A black and white line drawing of the plane
17 May, 2023
Artist working on ODID research project locates plane used in secret renditions in South America
12 May, 2023
Nandini Gooptu wins Teaching Excellence Award
03 May, 2023
Welcome to Kudakwashe Chitofiri as AfOx-ODID Visiting Fellow
11 Apr, 2023
Choosing Islamic Conservatism project launches website
23 Feb, 2023
Francesca Lessa gives expert testimony in case of three victims of Operation Condor
20 Jan, 2023
The Condor Trials by Francesca Lessa wins Méndez book award
11 Jan, 2023
Nikita Sud wins funding for new project on green transition in India and Indonesia
27 Oct, 2022
Laura Rival gives expert testimony in case against Ecuador over treatment of indigenous peoples
26 Oct, 2022
New website brings together rich resources relating to transnational repression in Latin America
03 Oct, 2022
Research by Nikita Sud chosen as winner in Social Science and Humanities by Falling Walls Foundation


25 May, 2023
'It allows us to completely retell that story as a transational and international endeavour'. Jocelyn Alexander discusses her work bringing together oral histories from the liberation movement in Zimbabwe on the BBC's Free Thinking
14 Apr, 2023
'Finding Ukraine’s stolen children and bringing perpetrators to justice: lessons from Argentina'. Francesca Lessa writes for the Conversation
24 Mar, 2023
'After Kanwariyas, Yogi Adityanath Goes Big On Navratri'. Nikita Sud is interviewed on NDTV's Left, Right and Centre to discuss Indian government spending on religious festivals
08 Mar, 2023
'Catching the Condor: Bringing to trial the generals who disappeared their enemies'. The Condor Trials by Francesca Lessa is reviewed in the TLS
02 Mar, 2023
'Has the G20 meeting produced solutions or more divisions?'. Nikita Sud speaks to Al Jazeera's Inside Story about G20, India's presidency, and the southern push for multilateralism in a fragile, changing world
27 Feb, 2023
'Exploring the Metaverse and Its Implications for Digital Diplomacy'. Corneliu Bjola writes for the CPD blog
16 Aug, 2022
'Operation Condor: why victims of the oppression that swept 1970s South America are still fighting for justice'. Francesca Lessa writes for the Conversation
17 Jun, 2022
'Why Russia may be taking Ukrainian children'. Francesca Lessa and Svitlana Chernykh examine precedents from Spain and Argentina in a post for The Monkey Cage blog
01 May, 2022
'How informal sector organisations in Zimbabwe shape notions of citizenship'. Kristina Pikovskaia writes for the Conversation
19 Apr, 2022
‘As a Latin saying goes, I do not consider anything that is human as alien to me. Therefore, I start with an issue in the real world, and then study it by means of whichever method seems best’. Read Joerg Friedrichs talking about his work as a researcher and teacher in an interview for Chinese organisation Dialogue Programme