New Pedagogical Approaches in Teaching the Sociology of Development

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Eric POPKIN, Colorado College, USA
This paper considers new pedagogical approaches tied to teaching the sociology of development relying on a community based learning pedagogy that facilitates direct student engagement with civil society in the global south.  Specifically, the paper considers a hybrid program design (academic/co-curricular program) that emphasizes internships and extensive fieldwork in collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in local community development work. There is a possible tension between the student learning component of the program (the required activities of the course/program) and the piece aimed at contributing to local community development in a global context. This tension is tied to the complicated role of global north outsiders engaged in in local community development work in the global south.  Additionally, there is a political context in which local NGOs operate within countries in the global south that may lead these organizations to promote a service orientation as compared to one that promotes social change by challenging power dynamics and inequities in state supported development programs. Given these dynamics, how do we assure that our students contribute to development that aims to promote social change through their work with NGOs? What are the appropriate learning outcomes for these hybrid programs and how do we design programming that facilitates acquisition of these outcomes? The paper examines one hybrid program at Colorado College and argues that these programs should examine the role of NGOs within the broader civil society and specifically the relationship between these organizations and local/national governments and social movements - such an inquiry requires consideration of the fragmented state of global civil society given the extensive influence of global capital. Student direct engagement in this work may help contribute to an emerging global, public sociology.