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Rural Development


This course can be followed as part of the BA specialisation “Development in Place”
(onderdeel BA Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie)

Admission requirements

Only the following categories of students can register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the BA programme “Culturele antropologie en ontwikkelingssociologie” at Leiden University who have passed the Propedeuse

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students

Please see below a description of the registration procedure.


The course focuses on various aspects of rural life in relation to ‘development’, ‘sustainable development’, ‘modernization’ and aid programmes and projects, in a globalised world. We thereby no longer spatially divide the world in so called ‘developed’ and ‘underdeveloped’ countries. World food production, food prices, trade agreements on food products and the like are all intrinsically interlinked. We will explore the position, role and significance of the peasantry particularly of the agribusiness and food industries. As van der Ploeg in his book and Brysceson in her article demonstrate, the peasantries of this world are far from waning. Also industrialized and developing countries are witnessing complex and richly chequered processes of ‘repeazantization’.

In this context we will also discuss the World Bank’ s program on Sustainable Land Management and Agriculture and Poverty Reduction and compare their views with a more critical analyses from an Aid consultant, Sivini, who considers the international aid market as its own market. He is of opinion that government and aid programmes often stimulate resistance from the local population, as agencies upset their usual system of production. However the rural poor, peasants and nomads, may also find ways to improve their ways of life. The local level, autonomy, an independent timing and the centrality of the own productive forces are thereby crucial.

We not only discuss the contemporary social problems and opportunities associated with rural economies and politics but we will also look at various methodological tools (Most significant change analysis (MSC), Logical framework analysis (LFA), and Outcome Mapping) that are used within development programs to model what various (development) programs intend to do within different logic and responsibility systems. We will use various projects to put these methodological tools into practice.


Thursdays 14-17 h, from February 3 to May 19, 2011 (starting date wil be announced)
Rooms 1A29 (3 and 10 Feb.) and 5A29 (all other dates), Pieter de la Court Building (Faculty of Social Sciences)

Mode of instruction

Total of 10 ECTS = 280 study hours (sbu)

  • Lectures 10 × 2 h (30 sbu)

  • Ethnographic exercises (practica) 5 × 1 h (5 sbu)

  • Group discussions 5 × 1 h (10 sbu)

  • Literature 930 pp (155 sbu)

  • Papers 6000 words = 10 pp (80 sbu)

Assesment method

  • Assignments

  • Presentations

  • Final paper

  • Presence at lectures (minimum 9 out of 10 meetings)


Blackboard module will be active from mid January 2011.
Students who have been granted admission must register for this course on Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Sivini, Giordano (2007) Resistance to Modernization in Africa. Journey among Peasants and Nomads. New Brunswick (USA) and London (UK): Transaction Publishers. (pp. 228)

  • Ploeg, Jan Douwe van der (2008). The New Peasantries, Struggles for Autonomy and Sustainability in an Era of Empire and Globalization. London: Earthscan (300)

  • other literature will be announced later


  • Studenten CA-OS: inschrijving mogelijk via het secretariaat CA-OS, kamer 3A19, tel. 5273469, e-mail:, tussen 1 december 2010 en 15 januari 2011.

  • Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply for the exchange programme

Contact Infromation

Dr. José van Santen 071-527 3497,