What is Development Studies?

This article is concerned with some initial reflections on the distinctive features of Development Studies (DS). The aim is to trigger more debate rather than attempt ‘closure’. Discussion of the nature of DS is timely because of the expansion of taught courses at various levels over the last decade or so; because of sustained critiques of DS in recent years; and because DS has entered a period of ‘soul-searching’ - illustrated by several journal special issues and events - to identify its defining characteristics. The article argues that DS is a worthwhile endeavour (how could a concern with reducing global poverty not be?) but the field of enquiry needs to think about how it addresses heterogeneity in the ‘Third World(s)’ and opens space for alternative ‘voices’.