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


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
08 Sep, 2022
Ground-breaking judgement on property rights in South Africa draws on research by Maxim Bolt
14 Jul, 2022
Dilar Dirik launches new Women and War podcast series
31 May, 2022
New book by Francesca Lessa explores transnational terror and struggles for justice in South America
24 May, 2022
Simukai Chigudu wins BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship to work on new book
05 May, 2022
Francesca Lessa and project partners to develop new online resource on Operation Condor


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
18 Feb, 2022
'Waste Beyond Management: Understanding the Waste Crisis at the Intersection of The Human and Non-Human Worlds'. Aparna Agarwal writes for Environmental History Now
21 Jan, 2022
'The Forum - Copper: from mining to microprocessors'. Nikita Sud takes part in BBC World Service panel
13 Sep, 2021
'In the Master’s Office black people step into the past'. Columnist Jonny Steinberg writes for Business Day about the findings of a recent article by Maxim Bolt
10 May, 2021
'He let his beard grow and ignored the warnings. Now the Indians are gasping for oxygen, and a new danger threatens'. Nikita Sud quoted in Denmark's Berlingske (in Danish)
30 Apr, 2021
'Global populism: Big promises, poor pandemic results'. Nikita Sud quoted by Christian Science Monitor
25 Apr, 2021
'World's Biggest Covid Crisis Threatens Modi's Grip on India'. Nikita Sud quoted in Bloomberg article