ASS205 - Anthropology of Poverty and Development


2024 unit information

Enrolment modes:

Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Online, Community Based Delivery (CBD)*

From 2024: 

Trimester 1: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Online, CBD*

Credit point(s): 1
EFTSL value: 0.125


Corequisite: Nil
Incompatible with: ASS305, ASS331
Study commitment

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

This will include educator guided online learning activities within the unit site.

Scheduled learning activities - campus

1 x 1-hour lecture per week, 1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - online

1 x 1-hour lecture per week (recordings provided), 1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


*Community Based Delivery (CBD) is for National Indigenous Knowledges, Education, Research and Innovation NIKERI Institute students only.


In this unit, students will learn to think critically about poverty and development as key concepts implicated in diverse human lives, and in pressing issues of social and ecological justice. While these terms are often used in taken-for-granted ways, both are charged with cultural and historically specific meaning. In seeking to alleviate poverty, then, there are foundational questions to be grappled with, including – what is poverty, anyway? How is it defined, and by whom? What is the relationship between poverty and wealth, both within countries and globally? What does it mean to aspire to development, or to set that as a goal for others?

In exploring these questions, this unit highlights the relationship between the Global North and South, and the patterns of colonialism and world trade that continue to shape distributions of both wealth and human suffering. The emergence of the global development industry is considered, as well as transformations to development under conditions of neoliberal capitalism, and associated transformations in the governance of poverty within the Global North.

Unit Fee Information

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