The Political Ecology of Development

Subject DEVT90003 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2015.

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

170 hours


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:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon
academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation
in the University's programs. This course requires all students to enrol in subjects where they
must actively and safely contribute to field excursions and laboratory activities. Students who
feel their disability will impact on meeting this requirement are encouraged to discuss this matter
with the Subject Coordinator and Disability Liaison
students email:


Melbourne Graduate School of Science
Building 138, between the Doug McDonell building and the Eastern Resource Centre (ERC)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject co-ordinator:

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
150 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
200 Point Master of Development Studies
200 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
Development Studies
Development Studies
Gender and Development Specialisation - 100 Point Program
Gender and Development Specialisation - 150 Point Program
Gender and Development Specialisation - 200 Point Program
Governance, Policy and Communication
Governance, Policy and Communication
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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