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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : African Studies

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Issues in International Development (AFRI10004)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryContemporary Issues in International Development takes a recent topic, one emerging in the news, policy debates or in the academic literature, and provides students with the tools to situate it within the larger academic literature, the political context and methods of analysis.
Course description The purpose of this course is to provide students with the opportunity of strengthening their understanding of the multidisciplinary study of international development at honors level. The course will draw on multidisciplinary expertise within the Centre of African Studies on international development. The course will be taught in a way that is accessible and open to honors students across SPS. The course will therefore meet a growing demand from students for option courses related to international development.

The substantive content of the course will change each year depending on topical issues and will be taught by experts on the issue itself or on particular approaches/methods from amongst permanent and postdoctoral staff. For example, around a UN development agenda or a comparative perspective on an issue covering a particular set of countries or regions, or on a theme that has attracted activism.

In each case, students will learn substantive information about the topic itself but perhaps more importantly they will acquire the generic skills to analyse any phenomenon: how to place it within a larger context, where to look for information about context, the types of variables (whether social, economic, cultural, or political) to consider when analysing the phenomenon, how to identify wider theories and concepts to analyse the phenomenon and how to acquire evidence that would support one theoretical interpretation over another.

2022-23 topic detail
Work, Employment and Development

Work is considered central to human development. One of the key goals of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda is decent work. Yet, working conditions around the world have deteriorated for a vast majority of the global workforce. As technology, climate, and socio-political factors influence working conditions and workers globally, there is a need to properly examine and understand the contemporary dynamics of change in the world of work. This course is intended to bring multi-disciplinary perspectives to the role of work within international development and enable students to develop unique insights into the multi-dimensional challenges faced by workers today. It blends geographical, sociological and technological insights to provide students a comprehensive outlook on work and development and its futures. In particular, the course will analyse aspects including globalisation of work, artificial intelligence and automation, climate change, informality, employment relations, and labour and social movements, with a focus on class, gender, and race.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who have not taken courses in social science subjects should contact the Course Organizer to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 4 Social Sciences courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  37
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Participation: 10%
Essay: 50% 2500words
Online exam: 40%
Feedback Students will be offered advice and feedback on their workplans/outlines in preparation for the group presentation, essay and online exam, which they may obtain on request. This feedback and guidance will be provided during the course convener's weekly office hours and by appointment. In particular, students will have received written feedback on the essay before they are required to sit the online exam. Feedback on tutorial participation will be provided through an individual Tutorial Participation feedback sheet, which will be given to the students after the final tutorial
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate comprehensive understanding of contemporary debates on the chosen event, from both a theoretical and empirical perspective.
  2. apply specialist in-depth knowledge of specific areas and issues in relation to the chosen event.
  3. critically engage with key explanatory theories, concepts, institutions and issues in the study of the chosen event.
  4. deploy effective communications skills, both written and verbal, to provide clear and concise analysis of the topic at hand.
  5. engage in critical thinking, reflection and debate for academic and non-academic consumption.
Reading List
¿ Clark, G., M. Fledman, M. Gertler, and Dariusz Wójcik. 2018. The New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
¿ Edgell, S., Granter, E. 2019. The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment, 3rd Edition. London: Sage.
¿ Spencer, D. A. 2009. The Political Economy of Work. London: Routledge.
¿ Held, David; Goldblatt, David; McGrew, Anthony; Perraton, Jonathan. 1999. Global transformations: politics, economics and culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
¿ Stephen Ackroyd, S. Batt, R., Thompson, P. Tolbert, P. 2006. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Work and Organization. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
¿ Frayne, D. 2015. The Refusal of Work: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work. London: Zed Books.
¿ Della Porta, D. And Diani, M. 2015. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
¿ Ransome, P. 2019. Sociology and the Future of Work: Contemporary Discourses and Debates. Routledge.
¿ Srnicek, N and Williams, A. 2015. Inventing the future: Post-capitalism and a world without work. London: Verso.
¿ Haagh, L. 2019. The Case for Universal Basic Income, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Journals to consider:
Journal of Economic Geography
New Media and Society
Work Employment and Society
New Technology, Work and Employment
Development and Change
Journal of International Development

Other Sources of Information:
¿ Notes from Below: Online magazine about all things ¿work¿.
¿ PodCast: Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs - podcast.
¿ Interview Paul Thomson and Elizabeth Cotton (2018). Theories of a 'Post-Work' Society, WES 2018.
¿ Video. Susskind. D. (2018). 3 myths about the future of work (and why they're not true).
¿ McAfee, A. (2013). What will the future jobs look like?
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking and analysis
Team work
Effective written and verbal communication
Effective research and analytical skills
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Mohammad Amir Anwar
Tel: (0131 6)51 1731
Course secretaryMiss Karen Leung
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