Development studies examines long-run transitions in social, economic, political, and cultural institutions that have accompanied industrialization in modern states, particularly focusing on states in the Global South.
The field seeks to understand how these historical and contemporary shifts affect people’s welfare and opportunities and how change has affected patterns of wealth and resource distribution within and between countries. Debates over perspectives and practices in development cross disciplinary boundaries and are hotly contested.
Macalester’s faculty currently has the depth and breadth to bring these contemporary debates and perspectives to students from a wide range of disciplines. Providing Macalester students interested in development with a multi-dimensional perspective on these issues enhances the quality of their education and will help our graduates be more effective and responsible participants in the field of international development.
This interdisciplinary field of study is even more pronounced outside of the USA, with a number of top notch programs located at British Universities. Numerous Macalester faculty with regional/area studies interests in the Global South engage in issues related to development.
Despite their disciplinary location, the varied regional, social, political, ethical, and practical dimensions of development have led most scholars to take a multidisciplinary approach. This lends the field a strongly multi-methodological character, combining large sample statistical studies, focused comparative analysis, and broad historical institutional investigations with ethnographic or participant observational fieldwork producing detailed case studies.