The Political Ecology of Development

Subject DEVT90003 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 hour seminar each week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

2 hour seminar each week for 12 weeks, and reading time and assignment preparation totalling 40hrs in the semester.


Admission to a postgraduate coursework program or fourth year honours in development studies, environment, urban planning, gender and development, resource management, public policy, international politics, geography or anthropology, or permission of the subject coordinator.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
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:


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land & Environment (building 142)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

The subject will help students understand human-environment relationships and key development issues using a political ecology perspective, with cases from developing and developed countries. Political ecologists use a variety of approaches to understand complex human-environment problems, and these are applied to concrete situations. We critically analyze a number of development initiatives that are reconstituting human-environment relationships and, in some cases, promoting new forms of ‘environmental governance’. The range of topics covered does change, and some indicative ones are; supporting rural livelihoods; water management; conservation policy; urban environmental governance; the environmental outcomes of corporate misdeeds; global land grabbing; and environmental movements. Through a seminar presentation, reading, and participation, students will learn how different institutions, and the politics surrounding them, impose constraints upon, and present opportunities for, the promotion of sustainable and equitable development.

Learning Outcomes:
  • comprehend the political ecology approach and be familiar with the rich literature of political ecology;
  • understand the driving forces of human and environmental resource pressures, at different scales;
  • demonstrate acquired knowledge in seminar contributions and through an essay;

An essay of 4000 words 80% (due at the end semester), an oral presentation equivalent to 1000 words 10% (during the semester), seminar participation throughout the semester 10%.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available on the LMS system

Recommended Texts:

Robbins, P. 2012. Political Ecology: a critical introduction. Blackwell. See also the 'Journal of Political Ecology' online,

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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


Related Course(s): Master of Science (Geography)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
150 Point Master of Development Studies (CWT)
150 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
200 Point Master of Development Studies (CWT)
200 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
Development Studies
Governance, Policy and Communication
Governance, Policy and Communication
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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