The Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS) was established as a Research Unit within the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University in 1985. It was established to undertake interdisciplinary research linking across the various fields of political science within the Faculty (government, public administration, international relations, and sociology and anthropology) and more broadly in the social sciences, and to provide support in education, research, and teaching.

Working towards these goals, in 2006, the CSDS supported the launch of the MA in International Development Studies (MAIDS) program.


  1. Ecological and social justice lies at the heart of a new politics of sustainability in Southeast Asia, in which all life, both human and non-human, are valued and respected.

  2. Decision-making on development is democratized and led by local needs in the context of global action and responsibilities. Public policy critically rethinks “development” and explores alternatives that work towards the quality of life for all being enriched.

  3. Long-term strategies and platforms are informed by new bodies of knowledge generated through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research that ensures that plural knowledges and viewpoints are respected, and the interests of vulnerable and excluded groups are recognized and explicitly incorporated and addressed.

  4. Young researchers contribute to society through critical thinking and engaging in public life.


  1. The Center for Social Development Studies produces interdisciplinary critical research on development policy and practice in Southeast Asia that aims to be innovative, inclusive and sustainable.

  2. We contribute to policy processes through undertaking research in collaboration with those involved in development policy and practice, participating in research, policy and academic networks, and by sharing our research publicly.

  3. We support young and mid-career researchers and public intellectuals via the Master of Arts in International Development Studies (MAIDS) program, the Graduate Research in International Development (GRID) program, and the Faculty of Political Science, and through our fellowship programs and internships.

  4. We organize public forums for debating critical issues on development by hosting seminars, conferences, and workshops.

Research areas

Our current research areas are as follows:

  • Political ecology and resource politics

  • Regionalization in Southeast Asia and Asia

  • Human rights, human security and justice

  • Knowledge and innovation

  • Public sphere, democratization and the commons

  • Training regional researchers


As we seek to promote interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, our partnerships are important for co-production of knowledge methodologies in research. Our recent projects have collaborated with: universities in Southeast Asia and beyond; NGOs and civil society organizations; research institutes; and government organizations. To encourage collaborative research, knowledge exchange and capacity building, we also host Research Associates, Visiting Researchers, and interns.

Learn more about the Center for Social Development Studies by downloading our informational brochure here