Global Development Institute Blog

A new handbook, The Routledge Handbook on Global Development, co-edited by the Global Development Institute’s Nicola Banks, has been published. The volume shows how processes and experiences of development have influenced people’s lives in both positive and negative ways, drawing attention to structural inequality and disadvantage alongside potential opportunities for positive change.


The book offers a comprehensive analysis of the world’s most pressing global development challenges, featuring contributions from over 90 leading academics and practitioners. The multidisciplinary Handbook consists of 61 chapters, which are organised across five thematic parts exploring topics ranging from climate change to debt, decolonisation, gender inequality, indigenous rights, migration, pandemics, poverty alleviation and urbanisation. Part 1 explores key changes in global development financing, ideologies, norms and partnerships. Part 2 and 3, investigate the interrelationships between development, natural environments and inequality. Part 4 interrogates shifts in critical development challenges, whilst the book closes with part 5, looking at new thinking in development pedagogy and practice.

A paradigmatic shift

The Handbook is designed to speak to a paradigm shift from ‘international’ to ‘global’ development. Chapters explore challenges that are not only in the global South, but also in the Global North; and to challenges that transcend the ‘North-South’, ‘developed-developing’, binaries. Collectively the handbook demonstrates that challenges are becoming increasingly complex and multi-faceted, and are to be found in the global ‘North’ as much as the global ‘South’.

Not only is this shift evident in the content but also its diverse authorship, with contributors coming from across the globe. Ensuring this diverse representation in authorship was another important aim of the book. As lead editor Kearrin Sims explains, “Having a geographically dispersed team helped the inclusion of perspectives and contributions from some of the commonly less represented countries and regions”.


The motivation behind the book was to bring together cutting-edge research, learning and teaching, and practice. As Kearrin Sims explains “Most of us that work in development move across these three categories in all sorts of ways and often in ways that are quite blurred. These fluid and overlapping categories that are in constant play with one another motivated me to produce a Handbook that spoke to this interplay”.


A major key point of difference for this volume is that every chapter finishes with recommendations for learning and teaching and (in some cases) development practice. In so doing, the Handbook will serve as a valuable learning and teaching resource for students and scholars across multiple disciplines. As Nicola Banks highlights, something they set out to do with the volume, was to help the reader understand key issues in global development but also to challenge dominant ideas, interests and narratives. “I’m proud of the fact that anyone (academic, student, practitioner, interested reader) can pick up the book, find a chapter that interest them and then receive a thought provoking, all-encompassing read that not only covers key issues in the field but also makes us think about how knowledge around the subject is constructed and perpetuated”.

The Routledge Handbook of Global Development is available from the 24th February 2022.

You can listen to the editorial team discuss the making of, and motivations behind, the Handbook in our 3-part podcasts series. Listen to the first two episodes below.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Note:  This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole.