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Centre of Development Studies



John Rapley has worked at universities in Britain, the US, Canada, France, South Africa and the Caribbean. From 2003-2011 he left the classroom to create the Caribbean’s first independent think tank, the Caribbean Policy Research Institute. He also has a long history as a public scholar, and has published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, from the Jamaica Gleaner to Esquire.


John Rapley is currently interested in issues relating to globalization and governance. Most recently, he has paid particular attention to policy coalitions and informal governance – or what he has called the new medievalism. He also maintains a long-standing interest in both the theory and practice of development, and his Understanding Development remains in widespread use around the world as a textbook in development studies.


Key publications: 

“The Development of Informal Governance in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Criminal Gangs as Neo-Medieval Agents.” South African Journal of International Affairs 19, 3 (December 2012).

“The Fall of the Latter-Day Barons?” Foreign Affairs (29 June 2010).

“End of Development or Age of Development?” Progress in Development Studies 8,2 (2008): 177-182.

Understanding Development: Theory and Practice in the Third WorldBoulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 1996; 2nd. Edition, 2002; 3rd Edition 2007.

“The New Middle Ages.” Foreign Affairs 85, 3 (May/June 2006): 95-103.

“State Capacity and Development in a Post-Modern Age.” Progress in Development Studies 6,2 (2006): 167-172.      

 “Development Studies and the Post-Development Critique.” Progress in Development Studies 4, 4 (2004): 350-54.

Globalization and Inequality. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 2004.

“Jamaica: Negotiating Law and Order with the Dons.” NACLA Report on the Americas, 37, 2 (Sept./Oct. 2003): 25-29.

"New Directions in the Political Economy of Development."  Review of African Political Economy 62 (1994): 495-510.

Ivoirien Capitalism: African Entrepreneurs in Côte d'Ivoire Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 1993.


Teaching and Supervisions


John Rapley taught Paper 3, Sociology and politics of development during the Michaelmas term, 2013. 

Dr John  Rapley