The World Bank is the most controversial institution in the world of development policy and practice. From one point of view, it sets the agenda for most of the other actors engaged in the provision of international development assistance. From another point of view, the constraints and policies that it imposes, by virtue of its governing body being controlled by western nations, perpetuate many of the underlying problems confronting developing countries. This course examines the policies, procedures and practices of the World Bank through an institutional and ethnographic lens, using case study materials to show that it is not a monolithic organisation with a single mission, but a very large group of individuals working in different roles, confronting a wide variety of political and practical problems in their dealings with other actors in the development policy process.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Explain the significance and history of the World Bank as an actor in third world development.
- Critically assess the benefits and costs of World Bank engagement with particular developing countries and projects.
- Contribute to public debate about the benefits and costs of World Bank engagement with specific international and national development policy processes.
- Country case study 1500 (30) [LO 1]
- Thematic essay 3000 (60) [LO 2]
- Participation in seminar discussion 500 (10) [LO 3]
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30 hours lectures and seminars; 90 hours reading and writing
Use will be made of a variety of documents produced by the World bank and available from its website. In addition, students will be directed to read extracts from other publications containing critical discussions of World Bank policies, procedures and practices, e.g.
Goldman, M., 2005. Imperial Nature: The World Bank and Struggles for Social Justice in the Age of Globalization. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Kapur, D. et al. (eds), 1997. The World Bank: Its First Half Century. Washington (DC): Brookings Institution.
Seymour, F.J. et al., 2000. The Right Conditions: The World Bank, Structural Adjustment, and Forest Policy Reform. Washington (DC): Brookings Institution.
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