Development Cooperation and International Relations: a field of study under debate

Publication date:
Bernabé Malacalza, investigador adjunto, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)

The study of development cooperation is said to lie outside the core of the International Relations (IR) discipline. However, academic production on this subject is abundant. This paper carries out a systematic ordering of the most relevant literature by analysing the evolution of its debates (differences, coexistence, separation and combination of different theoretical perspectives). This journey allows us to observe how the transformations in the international order and the theoretical evolution of the discipline established four axes of debate: a) the nature of foreign aid; b) the methods of studying aid policies; c) the deep forces behind aid policies; and d) the ways of understanding aid and development. Given the current divide in the subfield between rationalists and reflectivists, the need is postulated for theoretical dialogue, methodological robustness and a greater emphasis on research on the Global South.

Key words: International Relations theories, international development cooperation, foreign aid, development aid


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How to cite this article: Malacalza, Bernabé. «Cooperación al desarrollo y relaciones internacionales: un campo de estudio en debate». Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals, n.º 125 (septiembre de 2020), p. 209-228. DOI: