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
Valuation struggles in the Ecuadorian Amazon
‘State of Emergency’: The politics of Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak, 2008-2009
Supporting police reform in Nigeria: learning from officers on the ground
An interrogation of public authority and tenure security in fast track resettlement farms in Zimba...
NGO advocacy and the struggle for representation: mining, conflict and performance in the Peruvian...
Frontiers of urban survival: everyday corruption and precarious existence in Lagos
Redesigning food systems: transformative social innovation in Mexico and Guatemala
'Peasantarianisation' of the undesired urban: the role of the discourse in the implement...
Apartheid’s African soldiers: a history of black Namibians and Angolans in South Africa’s former s...


Leonie Hoffmann
Research Student
Robert Hortle
Research Student
Jessie Barton Hronešová
ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow
David Jackman
Departmental Lecturer in Development Studies
Garima Jaju
Research Student
Myfanwy James
Departmental Lecturer in Development Studies
Saba Joshi
Swiss National Science Foundation Research Fellow
Shivangi Kaushik
Research Student
Simiran Lalvani
Research Student


11 Mar, 2020
New article co-authored by Robtel Neajai Pailey explores voting behaviour in Liberia's 2017 election
08 Mar, 2020
Annette Idler book features in International Affairs Top Ten
18 Feb, 2020
New book by Prof Simukai Chigudu explores the political life of cholera in Zimbabwe
17 Feb, 2020
New book by Masooda Bano explores revival of Islamic rationalism
Four indigenous activists in front of a brick building in Oxford
12 Feb, 2020
Brazilian activists, intellectuals and policy actors visit Oxford to debate attacks on indigenous rights
30 Jan, 2020
New book co-edited by Raufu Mustapha offers fresh insights into Islamic radicalisation in Nigeria
Covers of two books on South African liberation movements
28 Jan, 2020
Two new books co-edited by Jocelyn Alexander examine liberation movements in Southern Africa
17 Jan, 2020
Educere Alliance to promote holistic education launches website
11 Dec, 2019
New book by Arndt Emmerich explores Islamic movements in India
27 Nov, 2019
New research project awarded £1.76m to investigate determinants of violence against women


08 Jun, 2020
'Rethinking land for the 21st century'. Nikita Sud writes for Mongabay about the way in which land is intertwined with the human trajectory, and how powers of access to land come from social, political or other kinds of dominance.
04 Jun, 2020
'Fare City insight series: Addis Ababa'. In a podcast for the Fare City think tank, DPhil Biruk Terrefe discusses how Addis Ababa is responding to COVID-19
06 Apr, 2020
'The Murky Underbelly of Sanitation During the Pandemic'. DPhil Aparna Agarwal writes about the plight of Delhi’s already marginalised sanitation workers and rag-pickers, who have no option but to continue working during the coronavirus pandemic.
31 Mar, 2020
'How data-mining companies are set to gain from the Covid-19 pandemic'. Ivan Manokha writes for OpenDemocracy that such companies will be empowered and normalised, to the detriment of democracy
25 Mar, 2020
‘They have been left completely in limbo’. Nikita Sud interviewed by TRT World on the impact of India's coronavirus lockdown on the country's informal workers
17 Mar, 2020
'The Modi government is facing a crisis of credibility in the political as well as economic sphere'. Nikita Sud quoted by Bloomberg
01 Mar, 2020
'Push comes to shove, it is the demands of dominant groups that are given primacy in state policy and practice'. Nikita Sud comments for Reuters on conflicts over common land in India due to conservation and tree planting efforts
29 Jan, 2020
'He lacks the traditional skill set of a president but has the popular mandate to get himself a good team. Instead he has allowed himself to be advised incorrectly'. Robtel Neajai Pailey quoted by Al Jazeera on growing unpopularity of Liberia's George Weah
27 Jan, 2020
'Richard Caplan’s “Measuring peace: Principles, practices and politics”'. Jessie Barton Hronešová reviews the book for the Oxford University Politics Blog
22 Jan, 2020
'Coexistence and strife'. Joerg Friedrichs' book 'Hindu-Muslim Relations' reviewed in The Hindu