Based at the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich, the DSGZ is a platform of researchers working in the field of development studies.

Our research strives to understand social change and its consequences in local contexts, and the links between these contexts with global processes. Our work is positioned within theories of practice: we seek to understand how people construct and change their livelihoods through social practices in different localities while being embedded in different networks and relationships. Conceptually, our main analytical categories include place-space, multi-locality, territoriality, inequality, conflict and social change. Our methodological approach is informed by qualitative-interpretative social science and uses case study methods as well as textual and visual analysis.

Our empirical studies are based both in the global South (South and Southeast Asia, Horn of Africa, East Africa, Central Asia, Central America) and in the global North (Europe, specifically Switzerland). However, through its focus on global processes, our research transcends the local.
Our academic engagement is firmly grounded in a number of normative premises: it is based on the idea of sustainable development and is carried forward by a desire to contribute to social justice and wellbeing beyond spatially confined islands of wealth. Our research is politically relevant in the sense that we engage in dialogue with other researchers (particularly in the South), development practitioners, policy makers and the general public. We reflect on the kind of knowledge we produce for what audience and purposes, and we seek to provide knowledge for orientation in an increasingly complex world.

Development Study Group (DSGZ)
Department of Geography
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstr. 190
8057 Zürich

Phone: 0041 44 635 51 94
Fax: 0041 635 68 44


Ulrike Müller-Böker
Prof. Dr.
Director DSGZ

Phone: 0041 44 6355171

Susan Thieme
PD Dr.

Phone: 0041 44 635 51 47

Urs Geiser

Phone: 0041 44 635 51 65