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Open University’s classic Development textbook turns 30

17 January 2022

Image of front cover of Poverty and Development book

Few course books outlive their course, but one first produced for Open University Development students 30 years ago has taken on a life of its own.

The book, Poverty and Development in the Twenty-First Century is still so popular that the latest edition, the third, was published last October, 20 years after the course ended.

Originally titled Poverty and Development in the 1990s, it was one of a series of four set books written for the OU’s undergraduate course U208 Third World Development in 1992.

“It has been in continuous print since then and sales are such that Oxford University Press wanted a third edition,” said OU Professor of Innovation and Development David Wield.

“It is generally thought of, I believe, as the major undergraduate textbook in Development Studies, and in line with OU pedagogic practice has e-guidance for teachers and students.”

Professor Wield is among a number of current and former OU academics ­– including the book’s editors Tim Allen and Alan Thomas – who contributed to both the original and the latest version.

This revised and updated edition is dedicated to the memories of three of its major contributors: Peter Worsley, external assessor of the first edition, and two pioneering OU academics Ben Crow and David Potter.

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