ASS205 - Anthropology of Poverty and Development

Unit details


2024 unit information

Enrolment modes:

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

From 2025: 

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

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 1: Victoria Stead


Incompatible with: ASS305, ASS331
Typical 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.

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - on-campus unit enrolment:

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

Educator-facilitated (scheduled) learning activities - online unit enrolment:

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.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Debate, interpret and synthesize issues in the anthropology of poverty and development

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO5: Problem solving


Evaluate normative frameworks for poverty alleviation and generate critique of current approaches

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship


Develop a policy brief that evaluates contemporary real-world issues related to poverty and/or development, and proposes recommendations for action

GLO2: Communication

GLO3: Digital Literacy

GLO7: Team work

GLO8: Global citizenship


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1 - Group Assignment  800 words
or equivalent
25% Information not yet available
Assessment 2 - Critical Reading 1200 words 
or equivalent
35% Information not yet available
Assessment 3 - Essay 2000 words 
or equivalent
40% Information not yet available

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via the link ASS205
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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