« Asia and the Pacific/Gender and Social Development

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This micro-credential will address the importance of understanding the many ways that culture influences development. Culture is often seen to be an impediment to development, especially to central elements of development policy such as human rights and gender equality. Culture is also often used to justify violence or discrimination and is considered a major contributing factor in violence against women. As a result, cultural practices are sometimes given the negative label of “harmful traditional practices.” However, while violence and discrimination are serious problems, the importance of culture in development is a wider issue, for successful development requires policy makers and practitioners to work with culture.
Given the significance of culture in the development process, it is important to understand just what we mean by culture. The micro-credential will draw on contemporary anthropological writings to examine and analyse the significance of culture and the multiple ways that culture influences development in the Pacific.
The micro-credential will draw on case studies which show how cultural beliefs shape the specific ways that Pacific Islanders understand and explain such things as:
  • The AIDS epidemic
  • Illness and death
  • Sorcery and witchcraft accusations and related violence;
  • The relationship between culture and land and conflicts over land,
  • The ways that culture and exchange plays out in elections through money politics
Finally, these case studies will demonstrate why a thorough understanding of culture is necessary for the development interventions which are appropriate and acceptable to the people they are applied to.


  1. Culture and Development
  2. Culture and Health – Religion and the AIDS Epidemic
  3. Culture and Violence – Sorcery and Witchcraft Related Violence
  4. Culture and Land – Land Conflicts
  5. Culture and Politics – The Culture of Money Politics
  6. Working with Culture

Learning outcomes 

Upon successful completion, enrollees will have the knowledge and skills to: 

  1. Acquire a critical understanding of the concept of culture
  2. Understand the importance of culture for development policy-making and programming
  3. Critically analyse the way culture is addressed in policy
  4. Conduct independent research that demonstrates scholarly and practitioner focused engagement with the subject matter developing ideas and analysis for both audience

Indicative assessment

Policy Review 20%; Links to LO: 3 and 4

Policy Brief 30%%; Links to LO: 1, 2, 3 and 4

Policy Intervention Design Project 50%; Links to LO: 1, 2, 3 and 4

Assumed knowledge 

This Micro-credential is taught at graduate level and assumes the generic skills of a Bachelors or equivalent. 

Micro-credential stack information 

 This Micro-credential is currently not part of a stack.


  • Course Code: DPA18

  • Workload: Contact hours: 12 hours, face-to-face or online (eg via Zoom). Individual study and assessment: approx. 50-60 hours.

  • ANU unit value: 3 units

  • Course Code Level: 8000

  • Contact:  ANU Department of Pacific Affairs: dpa@anu.edu.au

This Micro-credential is taught at a graduate level.  This is not an AQF qualification. 

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