an idea in progress

The idea of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) originated in the writings of Leon Trotsky (1879-1940). Its most explicit formulation is found in the opening chapter of his History of the Russian Revolution (1932).

Trotsky used UCD to explain the ‘peculiarities’ of Russia’s social structures in the early 20th century, viewing them as the outcome of a wider, inter-societal process of historical development. In this way, he incorporated the significance of international relations into a theory of capitalist world development. But in doing so, he also  created the opening for a social theory of ‘the international’.

UCD was introduced into the discipline of International Relations (IR) at  the 1995 Deutscher Memorial Lecture. Over the years, it has established itself as a major ongoing research programme in IR.

Online UCD Working Group

We meet online for 90-minute sessions every two months to discuss new directions in UCD research. The programme of meetings is not tied to any particular publication project, but each session is devoted to a particular topic chosen in advance by the group.

To join (or leave) the mailing list for the Working Group, please email Justin Rosenberg at