The Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna was founded in 2010. It originated from the project 'International Development', which was initiated in 2002 by a group of lecturers interested in establishing a study program focusing on 'development'.

The aim of the department is to challenge classical and mainstream approaches to ‘development’ and to
produce new transdisciplinary perspectives, theoretical concepts and methodological approaches to ‘development’ and global inequalities that go beyond disciplinary boundaries and a simple North-South divide.

The complex subject ‘development’ is approached by integrating political, historical, economic, social, feminist and cultural perspectives that allow the analysis of inequalities, multifaceted processes of social change and transformation, and power relations on a global, regional and local level. We are particularly  interested in how global and local structures, relations and discourses interact and dialectically create inequalities and resistance, thereby focussing not only on the Global South but also on the Global North, while considering the importance of historical developments.

Hence, we try to practice transdisciplinarity and to develop intersectional and multi-scalar approaches in our research and teaching, questioning power relations, ‘development’ practices and discourses. In doing so we also have a critical  stance towards knowledge production and related power relations and inequalities, addressing how and by whom development knowledge is being produced and financed. Further, our department focuses on structural and actor-oriented perspectives on ‘development’ and inequalities, which we aim to combine productively.

Such an approach requires a multidisciplinary team, which can be seen in the various disciplinary and practical backgrounds of our staff members and lecturers. The different knowledge and experiences are an important pillar in our research and teaching that strongly interrelate with each other. The department further connects to development policy institutions and debates in Austria and beyond, but our intention is not to provide research and knowledge for development but to critically accompany development policy and politics as a practice.