Course Title: Development Theories

Course Code: RDS 753                                        Credit Hours: 3

Semester: First                                             Teaching Hours: 48

Level: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Course Objectives

This paper introduces the study of development theories in comparative perspective. Examples from societies illustrate the basic principles of formation, structure, and distribution of human institutions and development. This paper also introduces both critical reading of classical and alternative theories of development. It also brings to the fore the challenges these theories have faced from different quarters such as the post-development and anti-globalization approaches. The paper scrutinizes debates on substantive topics in the theoretical interpretations of development and underdevelopment including the culture and development interrelationships.

Course Outlines                                                        LH

Unit I: Fundamental Theory of State and Culture                      15

  1. Theory of Social Science (Comte, Marx, Durkheim and Weber)
  2. Institutions and Social Evolution (Talcott Parsons)
  3. Theory of Communicative Action (Jürgen Habermas)
  4. Hegemony (Antoni Gramsci)
  5. Disciplinary Society (Michel Foucault)

Unit II: International Context of National Development                   15

  1. Conception and Dimensions of Development
  2. Early Modernization Theory
  3. Neo-evolutionism and Modernization Theory
  4. Theories of Underdevelopment and World System
  5. Post-Modernization Critiques of Development

Unit III: Political Economy                                              9

  1. Introduction to Political Economy
  2. Development and Globalization
  3. Neo-Liberalism and Capital Economy
  4. Contemporary Political Economy of Nepal

Unit IV: Culture and Development                                                         9

  1. Cultural Liberty and Human Development
  2. Challenges for Cultural Liberty
  3. Building Multicultural Democracies
  4. Confronting Movements for Cultural Domination
  5. Globalization and Cultural Choice


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Desai, V., & Potter, R. B. (2013). The companion to development studies. London: Routledge.

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Habermas, Jürgen (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action, 2 vols. Boston, MA: Beacon 

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Thomson, Kenneth (1985). Readings from Emile Durkheim. London and New York:  K. Thomson/Ellis Horwood Limited.

UNDP (2004). Human Development Report 2004: Cultural liberty in today’s diverse world. USA: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Upreti, B. R., Manandhar, P., & Sapkota, M. (2014). Contested Development in Nepal: Experiences and Reflections. S. R. Sharma (Ed.). Department of Development Studies, School of Arts, Kathmadu University and Nepal Centre for Contemporary Research.

Willis, Kate (2005). Theories and practices of development. London: Routledge Publishing Taylor & Francis Group