SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

The Working Poor and Development (MSc RID)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2016/2017
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 2

The aim of this module is to enable students to understand the interaction between ‘the working poor’ and ‘development’ and, as part of this, to understand how a development approach which focuses on labouring groups differs conceptually from a perspective focussing on poverty, and leads to different developmental solutions. To do so, the module will consider conceptual issues relating to labour and development, and historical aspects of labour and capitalist development in Europe and the South. It will analyse globalisation, neo-liberalism and labour, and related competing theories including differences between poverty and labour focussed approaches. It will discuss policy approaches to the working poor including ILO’s ‘decent work’ approach, Corporate Social Responsibility and international union approaches, as well as struggles of and for the working poor by organised labour and social movements. Both mainstream and heterodox approaches will be investigated.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this module, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the major and minor strands of debates on the working poor
  • An ability to analyse and compare mainstream and heterodox approaches.
  • An ability to apply both theory and methodology in constructing a critical analysis of the issues for a particular country.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

This module will be delivered alongside the parallel module 'The working poor and development', worth 22.5 CATS credits. Students will have the opportunity to attend all lectures and tutorials, but the examinable component will be approximately 75% of the 22.5 CATS credits syllabus. Material delivered in the lectures and tutorials which is NOT examinable will equate to two of the ten weeks of the module, and will be identified by the module convenor and communicated to students at the start the module.

Method of assessment

60% exam, 40% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay of no more than 4000 words. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules