International Development Studies

girl and sheep

Globalisation has given rise to new and intensified flows and circulations. Migrant labourers, refugees, tourists, traders, international entrepreneurs, and students are connecting different places on the globe. The same counts for transnational investments, remittances and chains of commodities and consumer goods.

In this increasingly interconnected and changing world, one cannot understand development as an isolated and place-based process. Development in one place is impacted by development in the other. Places and spaces are thus linked through flows of capital, goods, people, practices and ideas.

These ‘global’ flows and local ways of handling them shape the development trajectories and livelihood possibilities. For people to enjoy benefits they need to be able to ‘plug in’ and surf on the right flows and networks. Yet, there are now alternative visions of development, such as degrowth, lower-carbon, and shorter supply chains, that have gained attention to rethink the development trajectories.

Researchers at International Development Studies aim to gain an understanding of the consequences of new flows of people, goods, capital and knowledge for inclusive and sustainable development in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Who benefits from these opportunities? Who are excluded? And how do these global flows shape the local spaces people are residing, studying and working in? These are questions that are at the heart of the International Development Studies research section.

Our central goal is to make sense of societal challenges and transformation from an interdisciplinary perspective to further improve the well-being of the people and communities through solution-oriented participatory approaches.

We strongly adhere to an empirical approach, informed by theoretical concepts. Fieldwork is a component of most of our research. We believe that to understand what development means for whom, engagement with people is necessary. Therefore we use multi-stakeholder approaches and bottom-up data collection methods, often combining quantitative and qualitative analysis (mixed methods).

In our research we focus on three main intersecting themes: flows of capital, flows of people and translocal development. Our leading role in LANDac (Netherlands Academy on Inclusive and Sustainable Land Governance) academy and initiative to establish the Shared Value foundation  and the type of activities that we enroll together with multiple stakeholders shows our strong engagement with society and our solution oriented approach.

Read more about our research
Read our 2021 annual report
Overview of graduated PhD candidates


For individual members of this research section, please see the staff listing.