Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Culture in Development

In this module, we will explore the place of culture, art and creative enterprise within the global discourses of International Development. We will assess how development projects have always had a ‘cultural’ dimension, whether this has been acknowledged or not. However, we will explore in particular the diverse threads of the ‘cultural’ turns that have emerged in development discourses in recent decades.

We will begin by tracing the emergence of theories of both ‘development’ (especially since World War Two) and ‘cultural development’ (since the 1960s), with particular attention to the global institutional field within which these discourses have taken shape (notably around the UN system). We will then focus on a number of key issues around which cultural development debates have crystallized: world heritage, international trade in cultural goods, cultural rights, and the creative economy. We will assess the extent to which the paradigm of ‘human development’ as conceptualized by authors such as Sen and Nussbaum, and promoted by agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme, provides a fertile framework within which to consider relations between culture and development. We will conclude with a critical overview of the available indicators of global trends in cultural development.

Illustrative Bibliography

Payne, A. and Phillips, N. (2010) Development (Polity Key Concepts), Cambridge: Polity.

Nederveen Pieterse, J. (2010), Development Theory: Deconstructions/Reconstructions, 2nd ed., London: Sage

Nussbaum, M. (2011), Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Singh, J. P. (2011), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO): Creating Norms for a Complex World, London: Routledge.

Browne, S. (2011), The United Nations Development Programme and System, London: Routledge

UNDP (2004) Human Development Report 2004: Cultural liberty in today’s Diverse World, New York: UNDP

UNESCO/UNDP (2013) Creative Economy Report 2013: widening local development pathways, New York: UN

Tomalin, E. (2013) , Religions and Development , London: Routledge