Research course

States, political systems and development

Open University · Department of Design, Development, Environment and Materials

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Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry


Course content

The role of the state and the emergence of innovative political systems in low and middle income countries are shaping the way development is conceptualised and translated into action. Countries like Bolivia and Ecuador have embraced alternative development paradigms that are rooted on principles and values of inclusiveness and sustainability and some African countries are embracing grassroots-led development processes.

Our research in the Development Policy and Practice (DPP) Group seeks to shed light on how the state becomes a driver and an agent of development while contributing to the construction of alternative political systems that challenge the current conceptualisation and practice of development. The DPP Group draws on an extensive network of academic partnerships with researchers, policy makers and grassroots organisations in Latin America and Africa that ensures an integrated analysis of international development.

Within this broad and cross-cutting agenda we focus on:

  • The relationship between development actors, institutions and dynamics of change at the level of political ideas. This further focuses on global justice, cosmopolitanism and politics of development as well as on transnational networks, states and power.
  • At the level of policies, our focus is on the interaction between governance and government and civil society.
  • At the level of actions, research focus is mainly on social movements, participation, conflict and cooperation.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    48 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    15 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Dr Ben Lampert
+44 (0)1908 655434