Understanding international development
Understanding international development

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding international development

1.2 Understanding PASH using case studies and spray diagrams

This course has provided a justification of PASH as overarching themes for the course. What is also interesting about these themes, however, is the way that they interact with each other (as illustrated in Figure 1).

Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Figure 1 A representation of PASH and how it fits with international development. Click on each theme to reveal their definitions
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

To take a simple example, a conventional version of history is in terms of rulers, explorers, generals and other great or bad people. Naked power and agency is taken for granted in this version of history as battles are fought and territory conquered (or lost). The exploits of these great or bad people are felt near, far and wide, that is to say at different scales. We can easily find illustrations of the inter-connections of the PASH themes in the example of British history. For example, the commoditisation of land in late 17th and early 18th century England turned what had traditionally been common access land into ‘parcels’, where full property rights of the owners prevailed, and from which peasants where forcibly evicted. Known as the ‘enclosures’, the evicted peasants did not allow this to happen without a struggle and contested the power of local authorities and landowners. Ultimately these changes, among others, that transformed rural life in England at the local, village level, also impacted on the wider, national scale, as peasants became a class of landless labourers that eventually swelled England’s cities and became the working class of the industrial revolution.

The usefulness of the PASH framework is that it provides a lens through which to look at development debates. For example, history provides a contextual basis on which to view the present and make decisions about the future. Power, agency and scale provide a backdrop to debates on different ways of thinking about development theory and practice, such as neoliberalism versus people centred models of development that you would have come across in the chapter. PASH also enables us to connect development theory with applied practice.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371