Course Title: Governance and Democracy in Development

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Governance and Democracy in Development

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


330H Social Science & Planning

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2006


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2009,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Dr. Debbi Long

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3788

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.5.4a

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

The concepts of democracy and governance, like the state itself, have always been central to debates about development. In the past decade they have become the touchstones for any discussion of politics in the developing world. This course presents a review of the major current debates about governance and democracy in developing countries.

You will start with an overview of the role of the state in development and critically examine the origins and implementation of the ’good governance’ agenda, You will then examine the highly topical issue of state failure. You will critically evaluate the nature and extent of democracy in developing countries, seeking to identify the conditions which best foster the development of democracy, and examine issues and problems associated with the building of democratic institutions. You will also focus on the key governance issues of public sector reform, privatisation and the control of corruption and then analyse the impact of globalisation on governance and democratic processes in developing countries.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the development of the following program learning outcomes:

  • critically reflect on socio-cultural diversity and values, world systems and the benefits of local and global development practices for communities engaged in development processes
  • critically analyse, synthesize and reflect on personal awareness and lived experience, theories and practices of development, both local and international, to extend and challenge knowledge and practice in the discipline
  • provide leadership within your discipline as well as collaborate with others
  • critically reflect on the causes and impacts of poverty in global contexts and to evaluate the theories and practice of development institutions

 Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. critically evaluate the key debates about democracy and governance
  2. discuss and review the role played by democratic institutions in the developing countries
  3. identify and analyse the implications of these theoretical perspectives and debates to policy issues
  4. critically reflect on and propose how diverse theoretical perspectives lead to alternative and competing possibilities for analysis and action in your own development practice

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in learning that involves a range of face to face or online activities such as such as presentations, readings, class or online discussion providing opportunities to explore key themes and debates.

For students enrolled in the face-to-face mode the course will include interactive seminar and workshop activities. There will be a focus on group-based discussion.  Course learning materials will be made available in a range of formats, which may include lectures, guest speakers, readings and online media.

For students enrolled in the online mode, the course will use discussion boards with questions oriented around a sequence of topics, as well as reading and other online material.

In order to develop your knowledge and skills, you will be expected to participate in interactive discussions and activities and to critically engage with the core reading materials as well as undertake additional relevant reading. The seminars and discussions are designed to be intellectually challenging, but also to offer a supportive learning environment where you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences, and to learn from the knowledge and experience of your peers as well as your teachers. This peer-based learning may take place through small-group discussions, collaborative work on activities and assessments and responses to oral presentations.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will have access to core readings for class discussion and essay preparation, and a list of recommended readings and a substantive bibliography for broader readings on selected topics. RMIT will provide you with additional resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems via myRMIT Studies, and additional sources, links and postings of relevant material will be made available online.

You will have access to core readings for class discussion and essay preparation, and a list of other recommended readings for broader exploration. You are encouraged to explore additional resources for learning in this course and to make use of learning tools available through online systems including the student portal, myRMIT Studies and RMIT Library resources. These resources include book chapters, journal articles, media articles, lecture notes, links to external websites and so forth.

The University Library has extensive resources relevant to questions of governance and democracy, generally, and in the development context. The Library has produced a number of subject guides that includes quality online and print resources for your studies. See and other relevant guides.

In order to help guide essay preparation, the Library provides guides on academic referencing  and subject specialist help via your Liaison Librarians.


Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment may include briefing papers, research essays, presentations or journals. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more. 

A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online:;ID=c15i3ciaq8ca