Anthropology of Policy in Development

Subject DEVT20001 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 2 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week for 10 weeks. The lecture and tutorial programs are staggered and cover the 12 weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment: An average of 8.5 hours per week
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: knowlege gained in one of the following is recommended by not esential:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: Students who have completed 'Development and the Third World' under the codes DEVT20001, 121-015 or 671-339 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Bina Fernandez


Dr. Bina Fernandez

Subject Overview:

This subject will introduce approaches to the construction and analysis of policy in the developing world. We will begin with an analysis of colonial policies of enumerating, categorising and describing colonised populations, and then discuss approaches to contemporary development policy problems. The dominant, linear approach to policy as a sequence of ‘design, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation’ will be critiqued for its failure to recognise the socio-cultural contexts, values and ideologies within which policies are embedded. We will explore the worldviews and assumptions of policy makers and policy ‘subjects’, and the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity and religion contribute to the success or failure of policies. Case studies using ethnographic and interpretive approaches will be used to throw light on the nature of policy-making and programmes in key development issues: for e.g., the meanings, measurement and experience of poverty; the construction of ‘indigenous’ peoples and of the ‘household’; the role of ‘local knowledge’ in health policies and in sustainable development.


Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with key terms and concepts used in the analysis of policy in the developing world
  • Analyse assumptions, norms, ideologies and values that frame policies within particular historical and cultural contexts
  • Critically assess policies in the developing world and discuss how ethnographic approaches and methods can contribute to the construction of policy

A tutorial presentation and 800 word paper (20%) due during the semester, a 1200-word assignment (30%) due mid-semester, and an essay of 2,000 words (50%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Reading material will be available online via the subject's LMS site

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • have practice in speaking and writing clearly and reading carefully
  • have experience of methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills
  • have acquired awareness of different analytical perspectives on policy in developing countries
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Public Policy and Management
U21 Certificate in Global Issues
U21 Diploma in Global Issues
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology and Development
Anthropology and Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Development Studies
Development Studies
Development Studies Major
Environmental Studies Major
International Studies Major
Social Theory
Social Theory Major
Sociology Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Development Studies

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