Development studies

Kehitysmaatutkimus

Development studies examines development, poverty, inequality as well as social, political, environmental and cultural changes and continuities in the Global South from a multidisciplinary perspective. At the University of Helsinki, development studies focuses on topics such as the theory and history of development, development policy, global justice, and the relationship between development and culture, gender, space and the environment as well as the global political economy. Development studies has expanded from being strictly centred on the developing countries towards a more holistic understanding and exploration of new creative opportunities and alternatives for the future.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

What is development studies?

The discipline of development studies examines development, poverty, inequality as well as social, political, environmental and cultural changes and continuities in the Global South from a multidisciplinary perspective. Development studies has expanded from being strictly centred on the developing countries to include diverse South-North relations in our globalising world. In Finland, development studies exists as a separate discipline only at the University of Helsinki, where it is a well-established social science.  

Multidisciplinary research

The term ‘developing countries’ is used of Asian, African and Latin American countries that were connected to the world economy through colonialism and to the global system as possessions of European colonial powers. Previous research emphasised the differences between developing countries and “developed”, modern countries. Today, this distinction is challenged by research approaches representing postmodernism, postcolonialism and development criticism. The mutual diversity and differences of developing countries have also drawn more attention. Contemporary research explores, for example, the effects of globalisation, environmental change and development policy on the opportunities of people in developing countries to make choices about their lives.

At the University of Helsinki, development studies is a fairly new and international discipline which has a multidisciplinary background. Its current focus areas include the following:

  • Globalisation and development  
  • The environment, development and political ecology 
  • Natural resources policy, resource-based economy and environmental management 
  • Cities in developing countries 
  • Migration and mobility 
  • State formation, politics and power
  • Social movements, civil society and alternative notions and practices of development 
  • Conflicts and development 
  • Sustainable development and justice 

Barry Gills, Professor
Marjaana Jauhola, University Lecturer (on research leave), Academy of Finland Research Fellow
Markus Kröger, Associate Professor
Paola Minoia, University Lecturer
Anja Nygren, Professor
Aili Pyhälä, University Lecturer
Eija Ranta, University Lecturer, Head of Discipline

Researchers

Research projects involving the discipline are listed in the Tuhat research database

For more information about development studies researchers as well as their research, see the Tuhat research database. You can also search for people through the phone directory or the search page for contact information.

Head of Discipline: Eija Ranta, Ph.D. University Lecturer,

Are you looking for a researcher, staff member or unit?

Postal and street address for development studies
PO Box 18 (Unioninkatu 35)
00014 University of Helsinki