Labour, Activism and Global Development

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

Students will survey the major theoretical approaches to global labour and labour activism, including the historical patterns of labour migration and the role it has played in forming the modern world; contemporary patterns and drivers of labour relations; the relationship between labour, migration and globalisation; the institutional and political dynamics that shape these flows;
and the policy implications – and subsequent debates – that have arisen around them. The module is interdisciplinary in orientation, and students will engage with a variety of literature, case studies, and qualitative and quantitative techniques for analysing the dynamics of global labour today.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

1. In-depth critical understanding of the mainstream and non-mainstream
schools in debates and policy prescriptions on global labour, social
movements and development.
2. Ability to make an independent analysis and assessment of the
assumptions, logics, and modalities – including views of agency – of
different approaches to global labour, migration and development.
3. 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.
4 Ability to apply theory and methodology to the assessment of a labour
campaign or policy initiative
5.Critically analyse the key policy debates on global labour and labour
agency and the various multilateral initiatives aimed at ensuring the rights of
labourers as well as the role and perspectives of different policy actors, and
be able to offer an informed assessment of these policies as they apply to
the contemporary world.


Teaching takes place through a weekly two hour seminar.

Method of assessment

100% coursework. Each student will be expected to submit one essay worth 80% and a blog worth 20% of the final grade. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules