Gerard Clarke is Head of the Department of Political and Cultural Studies and Associate Professor in Politics and International Development. He specialises in the study of policy and practice relevant to international development from a political perspective, including support for civil society and for rights-based approaches to development, and in development within specific countries and regions (especially in the Philippines and in South-East Asia). Much of his work over the last 10 years has focused on faith-based organizations and international development.

A graduate of the University of Limerick, he completed a M.Sc.(Econ) in Comparative Government at the London School of Economics, graduating with distinction in 1990. After working with Christian Aid in London for two years, he completed a PhD on Non-Governmental Organizations and Philippine Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, graduating in 1995. He first joined Swansea University in 1994 as a Lecturer in Development Studies and over the next sixteen years, acted as a consultant to a number of organizations, including the Department for International Development, the World Bank and the National Audit Office, working in more than 20 countries. He joined the Department of Political and Cultural Studies in 2010 and since then has worked on research projects funded by the British Academy, the Commonwealth Foundation and the German Research Foundation. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Politics and International Development
  • International development policy
  • Civil society and international development
  • Human rights and international development


  1. The new global governors: Globalization, civil society, and the rise of private philanthropic foundations. Journal of Civil Society 15(3), 197-213.
  2. Faith-based Organizations and International Development in a post-liberal world. In Religious NGOs at the United Nations: Polarizers or Mediators. (pp. 84-105). London & New York: Routledge.
  3. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Post-Marcos Period. In Routledge Handbook of the Contemporary Philippines. (pp. 376-385). Abingdon: Routledge.
  4. UK development policy and domestic politics 1997–2016. Third World Quarterly 39(1), 18-34.
  5. Governance and transnational civil society: the problem of transnational rent-seeking. Journal of Civil Society 12(1), 82-100.

See more...


  • PO-3117 Politics and International Development

    This module explores the role of politics or political science as a distinct social science discipline in the study of international development. It explores key theories from politics/political science that are relevant to the study of international development, their real world applications and the debates to which they give rise. The module also examines the politics/political science underpinnings of key policy debates within leading institutions tasked with promoting international development (including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The module examines the role of the state, the market and civil society in promoting international development and at the value and limitations of this triadic model.

  • PO-3320 Researching Politics 2

    Researching Politics 2 (RP2) is the follow-on module from RP1 and it acts as the culmination for the subject knowledge and transferable skills developed in that module. RP2 puts the creative emphasis in the hands of the students, with the module convenor and topic tutors giving guidance and feedback to facilitate the realisation of research conceived, developed, executed and presented by students. In this way, it tries to approximate the worlds of further study and work into which students will be progressing following the completion of their degree schemes. It is a module where all of the summative assessments are comprised of group work, although individual marks can be varied depending on each student¿s performance. Students are also required to submit an individual self-assessment, detailing what they have learned about their own strengths and weaknesses on the basis of the sustained group work. In RP2, you will extend and deepen the research undertaken in RP1 and continue to meet regularly in order to share ideas, opinions and sources in your groups. These meetings will include several where the topic tutor provides guidance and feedback as well as those where the meetings are student-led.

  • PO-M25 Dissertation

    Individual research based, under the guidance of appointed supervisor.

  • PO-M63 Rights-based Approaches to Development

    Rights-based approaches to development (RBAD) are now part of a new orthodoxy with respect to policy and practice in support of international development. They have become popular in part because they provide a language for analysing poverty as a complex and multi-dimensional phenomena and for analysing governance as a process that responds directly to people¿s needs, entitlements and rights. They direct attention to aspects of poverty which have traditionally been neglected in development policy at national and international levels. This module examines the background to rights-based approaches to development. Particular attention will is paid to the four separate arenas in which RBADs are now evident: development practice, development discourse; the policy commitments of donors and governments; and the obligations imposed on donors and governments by international human rights law. The module examines the implications of rights-based approaches for development policy and practice in the context of two contradictory phenomena: a system of international relations based on the principle of state sovereignty and the complex phenomenon of `globalis ation¿. Issues that arise in relation to the rights of indigenous peoples and children will be used as ways of examining the situation of vulnerable groups.

  • PO-M64 Violence, Conflict and Development

    Violence and conflict have been enduring and widespread obstacles to the promotion of sustainable development throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, and the 21st century looks set to continue this pattern. This module examines the roots and causes of conflict and violence in developing nations and explores how and why such conflict emerge even between hitherto seemingly peacefully co-existing communities. The module asks what impact protracted and violent conflict can have upon development prospects and democratisation processes, and examines national and international responses to violence and conflict mediation processes and systems. The module also explores soome of the arguments surrounding the use of aid in conflict situations, and examines the extent to which development aid and emergency relief can assist in perpetuating a state of conflict.

  • PO-M75 Introduction to Development Studies

    We are increasingly moving towards a globalised world. Nevertheless, there are still huge socio-economic and political differences between countries and within countries. A key question for many nations in the Global South is how to achieve inclusive and sustained socio-economic development and reduce poverty. Engineering solutions have and still are considered as essential in achieving this: building roads and bridges or providing water-pumps or electricity are seen as important ways to alleviate a nation and its people out of poverty. But at the same time it is recognized that just providing these solutions is not sufficient: education and training are equally important for development, as is for instance ensuring gender equality. The scholarly discipline of Development Studies has studied this important question of how to develop countries for the last 70 years or so. Over these decades many different models and approaches have been tried, by national governments but also by supra-national bodies such as the World Bank or the IMF as well as by Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Society groups, such as Oxfam or Action-Aid. In this module an overview of Development as a planned intervention is provided, and the different development models and approaches are critically assessed. We also look ahead to the Sustainable Development Goals, which have replaced the Millennium Development Goals as the global agenda for development.


  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Krijn Peters
  • Internet-mediated Political Mobilization in China: The case of Environmental Politics I do intend to amend this title but will wait until my literature review and research questions are more fully developed. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Yan Wu
  • “From weapons to wheels: assessing the impact of track construction for motorbike taxis on rural youth in Liberia”. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Krijn Peters
  • 'French Republicanisms: A comparative analysis of the French Military Interventions in Libya in 2011 and in Syria in 2013.' (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Mr Robert Bideleux
  • '''Achieving Good Governance and Development in Nigeria through Decentralization:A Case Study of Ondo State''' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Krijn Peters
  • 'Social Analysis and the Development Enterprise: A case of World Health Organisation Country Programme in Nigeria' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Krijn Peters

Current Research

I am currently undertaking research on prominent global civil society organizations which constitute global special interests. I am also leading a research project funded by the British Academy on human rights in South-East Asia, focusing on the evolving ASEAN human rights mechanism, involving colleagues in Swansea University and the University of the Philippines, Diliman. I have recently completed research projects on Philippince civil society and on faith-based organizations and international development.

Research awards, fellowships and prizes

  • 2013 British Academy grant under its International Partnership and Mobility Scheme for collaborative research on human rights in South-East Asia. 
  • 2008 European Journal of Development Research prize
  • 2007 & 2008 British Academy and Association for South-East Asian Studies in the UK (ASEASUK) research grants for research on Philippine civil society
  • 2007 Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Policy & Public Affairs, School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University;
  • 2006 Commonwealth Foundation, research grant for research on Muslim Aid UK. 
  • 2005 Department for International Development, grant for research on DFID engagement with faith groups and the role of faith in poverty reduction (with CDS colleagues)