Labour, Activism and Development

Key information

Module not running
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

This is a core module for the MSc Labour, Movements and Development. It offers the students of this degree programme a grounding in the analysis of development processes and outcomes involving the labouring classes in developing regions. It provides a critical examination of the links between labour, capitalism, development and poverty in different development settings, and explores different theories and methods that are used in the study of the working poor in the South and their social actions. The module also deals with policy approaches to the working poor such as the ILO ‘decent work’ approach, and policies of labour unions, social movements and ‘ethical’ initiatives such as corporate social responsibility. Finally, it analyses practical aspects of an international, regional and national labour rights related policy initiative or campaign, and the tools used in designing and running such initiatives/campaigns.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • In-depth critical understanding of the major and minor strands in debates and policy prescriptions on labour, social movements and development.
  • Ability  to make an independent analysis and assessment of the assumptions, logics, and modalities – including views of agency - of different approaches to labour and development.
  • an ability to distinguish and assess analytical, prescriptive and empirical claims, and how effectively/plausibly they are combined and deployed in different models regarding labour, development and agency of movements.
  • Ability to apply theory and methodology to the assessment of a labour policy initiative, and to design a policy initiative themselves.


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour seminar.

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay, worth 40% and one blog post worth 20% of the overall grade. Students will also take part in a presentation worth 40% of the overall grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules