POLS209-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Politics of International Aid and Development

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


This course introduces the main discourses, theories and practices related to the discipline of international development studies and its actors. We will first study the contentious history of the discipline which remains at times influenced by its colonial roots. This historical review will be key in appreciating how, since the end of World War II, global and regional political and economic contexts have informed the rise - and fall - of development theories and practices. Building on these historical insights, the course then turns to the politics of development aid and its actors. Here, a critical analysis of the drivers and practices for and around aid allocation will be pivotal in assessing the impact of aid on the ground. We will discuss key debates in relation to why and how governments give aid (bilateral and multilateral aid) and why, despite billions of dollars spent on international aid over time, poverty still plagues many countries across the Global South. The third part of the course turns to international private aid flows. Here we will discuss the trends and issues that arise from a proliferation of private actors in the aid industry: foundations, corporations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and broader civil society movements. Practical case studies will be utilised throughout the course, by reference to a variety of historical events, case studies of actors in the field such as the World Bank, NZAid, and Oxfam, as well as guest experts from the field.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain knowledge on the historical underpinnings of international development efforts and how (and why) such historical settings have influenced theoretical approaches in the field of international development studies (UC attributes: 1, 3, 5);
  • Critically reflect on the strengths and failings of the main theories informing the field in international development studies (UC attributes: 1, 3, 5);
  • Building on case studies from different regions of the world, demonstrate an ability to analyse how the range of political, economic and altruistic motives that animate actors across the field impact the outcomes of development activities on the ground (UC attributes: all);
  • Bring student to critically reflect on their own viewpoints on North-South
    relations (UC attributes: all).
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Engaged with the community

      Students will have observed and understood a culture within a community by reflecting on their own performance and experiences within that community.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 15 points at 100 level from POLS, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA, or
the Schedule V of the BCom.

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 10:00 - 12:00 Rata 222 & 223 Drawing Office
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 14:00 - 15:00 Ernest Rutherford 465
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinator

Pascale Hatcher

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $844.00

International fee $3,950.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All POLS209 Occurrences

  • POLS209-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024