Fall 2019 - SA 363 J100

Process of Development and Underdevelopment (S) (4)

Class Number: 3963

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Wed, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of sociological and anthropological theories of development and underdevelopment as applied to the Third World. The nature and consequences of world system linkages; colonialism and decolonization; patterns of social change in selected societies and regions.


Despite the frequent use of the term ‘development’, little consensus exists on what it entails – or even if some discernible practice or process towards it exists at all. This course invites students to explore the significance of development as a political economic issue, and to historicize its narrative as an increasingly global capitalist enterprise. The course will examine sociological and anthropological theories of development and underdevelopment as applied to experiences of the Third World. In this respect, students will evaluate modernization, dependency and world systems theory, as competing theoretical frameworks. We will then, analyze, (re)define and evaluate (under)development within the context of a world that has since World War II been defined by the powerful dynamics of integration and disintegration.

In order to both appreciate the context within which competing theories arise and collide, and to establish critical links between theory and the lived realities of the Third World, we will explore tangible case studies and identify particular international development actors that shape developmental outcomes. The course culminates with recognition of the presence and discursive power of global justice movements, or counter-movements. Ultimately, this course asks students to explore processes and practices of the (under) development project – including colonialism, postwar decolonization and the rise of the Third World – in the context of intrinsic world-system linkages, as exploratory background for understanding developmental disparity, counter-responses and social change. Although the course largely focuses on the African and Latin American regions, we will also refer to the East Asian Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs), as part of a larger critique examining development practice.


  • Participation & attendance 15%
  • Book review 30%
  • Group presentation & country report 25%
  • Midterm exam (take-home) 30%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html



Collier, P. (2007). The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Can also be accessed online through the SFU Library.
ISBN: 978-0-195373387

McMichael, P. (2017). Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective, 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
ISBN: 978-1-452275901

Additional material available on Library reserve and through Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html