Your international development summer reading starts here

Published on 18 August 2016

We have put together a selection of books and publications authored by IDS and its partners. The start of a summer reading list for international development students and those with an interest in the subject. The publications from across IDS’ 50 year history encompass a wide range of themes in development studies.

This list is not exhaustive and you can search the IDS Publications pages for 1000’s of books, journal articles and other publications.

The IDS Bulletin website also offers over 3000 articles which you can access for free dating back to 1968 to see how the development agenda has evolved.

International Development Reading Recommendations

We want to know your international development reading recommendations. Please add your own favourites in the comment box below and/or share them via Twitter using #globaldevreading

Key readings

Development Studies – Past, Present and Future IDS Bulletin 47.2, 2016 Edited by Alia Aghajanian and Jeremy Allouche At 50 years old, the Institute of Development Studies is ‘looking back, in order to look forward so too this IDS Bulletin aims to trace the history of certain topics in development studies by bringing together two generations of scholars – Research Fellows and students – to provide insight to our rich past and promising future.

Opening Governance Edited by Duncan Edwards and Rosie McGee IDS Bulletin 47.1, 2016 In this IDS Bulletin, articles review recent scholarship to pinpoint contributions to more open, transparent, accountable and responsive governance via improved practice, projects and programmes in the context of the ideas, relationships, processes, behaviours, policy frameworks and aid funding practices of the last five years.

Aid on the Edge of Chaos: Rethinking International Cooperation in a Complex World Ben Ramalingam Oxford University Press, 2015 A ground breaking book on the state of the aid business, bridging policy, practice and science.

Navigating Complexity in International Development: Facilitating Sustainable Change at Scale Danny Burns and Stuart Worsley Practical Action Publishing, 2015 ‘This book presents powerful and persuasive case-based evidence to show how systemic change can be achieved at scale.’ Robert Chambers, Research Associate and Professor Emeritus, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

The Politics of Evidence and Results in International Development: Playing the Game to Change the Rules? Edited By Rosalind Eyben, Irene Guijt, Chris Roche and Cathy Shutt Practical Action Publishing, 2015 This book critically examines the context and history of the current demands for results-oriented measurement and for evidence of value for money. It will inspire development professionals and organisations to cultivate their political skills and encourage them to play the results and evidence game to support their own, not someone else’s agendas.

Feminism, Power and Development Edited by Andrea Cornwall and Jenny Edwards Zed Books, 2014 An indispensible text for anyone interested in gender and development, this book shows that policies and approaches to development that view women as instrumental to other objectives will never promote women’s empowerment as they fail to address the structures by which gender inequality is perpetuated over time.

Women in Politics: Gender, Power and Development Mariz Tadros Zed Books, 2014 ‘The focus here is on the process of women’s engagement in political competition … These are inspiring accounts of women’s individual and collective triumphs over patriarchal interests, often achieved via independent, non-party paths to public office. This volume is packed with original data from recent research and it is a must-read for analysts of politics in contexts of transitions and decentralization.’ Anne Marie Goetz, New York University

New Roles for Communication in Development? Edited by Tessa Lewin, Blaine Harvey and Susie Page IDS Bulletin 43.5, 2012 The landscape of research communication in development has been undergoing a significant shift in recent years. The very visible emergence of new technologies has been accompanied by other shifts in the politics and business of development knowledge: the understanding of what constitutes “expert knowledge” in development, a growing emphasis on process over product in development research and new understandings of what drives social change and policy influence. As such we find ourselves at an interesting juncture, one that this Bulletin aims to explore by drawing on the experiences of practitioners, theorists and community intermediaries from a wide range of disciplines.

Milestones and Turning Points in Development Thinking Richard Jolly Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 ‘There are path-breaking papers in this collection, which have shaped the way we think about development and (to a lesser extent, unfortunately) how it is done. Adjustment with a Human face is more preached than practiced, and the need for it has now spread to the so-called developed countries. And visions of a new world order remain visions. Consequently, these papers remain vividly and urgently relevant.’ Frances Stewart, Oxford Department of International Development, UK

Men and Development: Politicizing Masculinities Andrea Cornwall, Jerker Edström and Alan Greig Zed Books, 2011 ‘This is an exciting and innovative collection. Through a series of case-studies, the contributors explore the links between constructions of masculinities, men’s lives and the political and economic circumstances in which they live them. Its geographical reach, theoretical scope and engagement with policies for change is impressive: this book will prove to be a hugely significant addition to the expanding literature about masculinities.’ Professor Linda McDowell, University of Oxford.

Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths & Realities Ian Scoones, Nelson Marongwe, Blasio Mavedzenge, Jacob Mahenehene, Felix Murimbarimba and Chrispen Sukume James Currey, 2010 Ten years after the land invasions of 2000, this book provides the first full account of the consequences of these dramatic events. This land reform overturned a century-old pattern of land use, one dominated by a small group of large-scale commercial farmers, many of whom were white. But what replaced it?

Citizen Action and National Policy Reform: Making Change Happen Edited by John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee Zed Books, 2010 How does citizen activism win changes in national policy? This book brings together eight studies of successful cases of citizen activism for national policy changes in South Africa, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Turkey, India and the Philippines. Drawing on influential social science theory about how political and social change occurs, the book brings new empirical insights to bear on it, both challenging and enriching current understandings

‘The editors bring together a remarkably diverse array of highly original case studies, capped off with a compelling and accessible analytical synthesis of lessons learned.’  Jonathan Fox, author of Accountability Politics: Power and Voice in Rural Mexico

Farmer First Revisited: Innovation for Agricultural Research and Development Ian Scoones and John Thompson Practical Action, 2009 ‘Farmer First Revisited is a powerful testament to the impact of the Farmer First approach. From an almost subversive critical movement that challenged the prevailing linear science-driven paradigm, Farmer First has won broad acceptance by rigorously proving its superior efficiency in making science work for the poorest and most marginal farmers…’ Joachim Voss, Independent Consultant, formerly Director General, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Cali, Colombia

Poverty in a Changing Climate Edited by: Thomas Tanner and Tom Mitchell IDS Bulletin 39.4, 2008 The central message of this IDS Bulletin is that Climate Change adaptation will be ineffective and inequitable if it fails to learn from and build upon an understanding of the multi-dimensional and differentiated nature of poverty and vulnerability.

Exploring Power for Change Edited by Rosalind Eyben, Colette Harris and Jethro Pettit IDS Bulletin 37.6, 2006 Concepts and methods of participation’ are used increasingly to shape policy and deliver services. Such approaches throw new light on complex interactions within and between society and state institutions at all levels. They lead to questions about how different kinds of knowledge and values shape policy choices.

Climate Change and Development Edited by: Farhana Yamin IDS Bulletin 35.3, 2004 Climate change is a relatively “young” international issue with significant social, economic and political ramifications. This Bulletin aims to generate awareness and catalyse discussion. It is intended to provide development and climate practitioners with an opportunity for mutual learning and to explore connections, conflicts, and to think “out of the box”.

Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis Ian Scoones IDS Working Paper 72, 1998 The concept of ‘sustainable livelihoods’ is increasingly important in the development debate. This paper outlines a framework for analysing sustainable livelihoods, defined here in relation to five key indicators.

Getting Institutions Right for Women in Development Edited by: Anne Marie Goetz IDS Bulletin 26.3, 1995 This Bulletin considers problems in institutionalising gender-sensitive development policy by exploring new gendered perspectives on the structure and functioning of development organisations, as well as strategies to improve their accountability to women.

Knowledge is Power? The Use and Abuse of Information in Development Edited by: Susanna Davies IDS Bulletin 23.2, 1994 This Bulletin is concerned with the use and abuse of information in development planning and policy-making. The conventional wisdom that more and better information automatically leads to improved policy and practice is challenged. Issues considered include: the political and economic neutrality of information; whose reality counts, and, who gains from ignorance. It includes articles on use of information in the health and environment sectors, and in food security planning.

Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: Practical Concepts for the 21st Century Robert Chambers and Gordon Conway IDS Discussion Paper 296, 1992

Money Can’t Buy Me Love? Re-evaluating Gender, Credit and Empowerment in Rural Bangladesh Naila Kabeer IDS Discussion Paper 363,1998

Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest Savanna Mosaic James Fairhead and Melissa Leach Cambridge University Press, 1997 ‘This is a bold and important book, an analytical tour de force. It mounts a forceful attack against the received wisdom on deforestation and the spread of the desert.’ Wendy James and Richard P. Werbner Amaury Talbot Prize 1997

Whose Reality Counts? Robert Chambers Practical Action Publishing, 1997 ‘Uncomfortable, sometimes funny, but essential reading.’ New Scientist

Seasonality and Poverty Edited by Richard Longhurst IDS Bulletin 17.3, 1986

Rapid Rural Apprasial Edited by Richard Longhurst IDS Bulletin 12.4, 1981

The Continuing Subordination of Women in the Development Process IDS Bulletin 10.3 Edited by Kate Young, 1979

The Meaning of Development Dudley Seers IDS Communication 44, 1969

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