It’s important to note that elite development theory is just one way of understanding the role of elites in society and the forces that shape societal development. There are other theories that offer alternative explanations for patterns of inequality and the concentration of wealth and power in societies. Additionally, while elites may have a significant influence on societal development, there are also many other factors that shape the direction of societal change, such as economic, political, and social trends, technological advances, and demographic shifts.
The main written assessment for this module is a discussion paper of 2000 words, based on one text from the essential readings (I will include a copy of this) The purpose of this assessment is to engage critically with academic literature and to integrate theory into an understanding of contemporary development issues. Rather than requiring the wide research that is expected in a normal essay, you will be making good use of fewer sources. Consider the following as you structure the paper: 1. Explain the main topics and theories that will be covered. What are you reviewing? What is its importance to contemporary development? What is interesting about it? Is there a particular argument that will come out of the literature you are using? 2. Summarise and review the key text. What is it about? What does it contain and what are the themes? What is its main approach and argument? What cases or countries are included, and can it be generalised beyond these? To what extent is the argument relevant today, might it be contested, and why/why not? 3. You may use other literature to expand on the discussion – journal articles (see journals on the online reading list), books, quality news reports, etc. 4. Conclude and reflect. What topics and themes have you covered? What are the main debates that have come out of the paper? How, if at all, should the key text be integrated in our understanding of the political economy of development? Is it useful for understanding world politics more generally? Can it be applied to other countries/ regions and if so, how? Assessment criteria Answers will be expected to show a good understanding of the theoretical literature and to include the relevant materials from your own research. Criteria for marking the essay will include the following alongside the broader essay grading criteria: • how well the remit of the assignment has been met; • the extent of theoretical awareness and empirical accuracy; • the clarity, structure and overall coherence of the paper; • clarity, coherence and cogence of argument • the demonstration of critical skills and of independent thinking; • evidence of appropriate reading and research, combined with effective use of the literature ￼￼￼10