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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Power, Data and Inequality in Value Chains (fusion on-site) (EFIE11052)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryHow much do we know about where everyday goods come from, how they were made, and who may have gained or lost in the process? This course will investigate the causes and consequences of inequalities in the complex, fragmented, transnational value chains that underpin the global economy. This will involve a particular focus on the social construction of data about these inequalities in multi-stakeholder certification initiatives. Students will apply their learning in a group research project on food value chains.
Course description The course will examine the causes of unequal distribution of value, risks and harms in the complex, fragmented, transnational value chains that underpin the global economy and supply everyday consumer goods. Using theoretical perspectives from political economy and economic sociology, students will engage with empirical evidence, concepts and data which enable us to see how these inequalities are measured and understood, and through facilitated debates and engagement with stakeholders explore the differing perspectives on how they can be mitigated.

A particular focus will be on initiatives to certify ethical and sustainability standards in value chains through increased transparency, traceability and measurement of the social and environmental dimensions of commercial activity. This can help reward producers, industries or national economies that operate more equitably and sustainably. However, what gets measured (or not measured) and how shapes the way we see social and environmental problems in the economy, and their potential solutions. The outcomes can reflect practical difficulties in measurement and data collection, but also political choices and power struggles among different actors constituting the value chain. Students will apply their learning in a group research project on food industry supply chains.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - On-Site Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities.

Students should be aware that:
- Classrooms used in this course will have additional technology in place: students might not be able to sit in areas away from microphones or outside the field of view of all cameras.
- Unless the lecturer or tutor indicates otherwise you should assume the session is being recorded.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2023
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 4, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 12, Online Activities 5, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Other Study Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 69 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 6
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following components:

1) Group Presentation (50%)

Group research project on a specified food value chain to investigate challenges relating to inequality and exclusion, and analyze the case to build arguments about their causes and remedies. Students will use course material and data gathered by the group. The presentations will be recorded using Kaltura or Teams and will be 15 minutes long, and students will be required to submit a set of slides (max 10).

The assessment will consider both contents/substance (e.g. strength of the research and sophistication of the arguments) and presentational quality (e.g. clarity, coherency). Students will receive a group rather than individual mark for this activity. The group mark will be assessed based on ability to integrate across and think critically about course readings and other material, quality of application to given theme, presentation skills, and teamwork skills.

Regarding teamwork, groups will be required to include a segment at the start of the presentation outlining the division of labour within the group. Recorded presentations will be shared via the course's Teams channel for informal peer-to-peer feedback.

2) 750 Word Individual Blog Entry (50%)

Blog discussing the relevance of their group's case to wider debates about value chains and inclusive development. The assignment is to test students' grasp of key theories and concepts, ability to link the evidence gathered in their group assignments to wider scholarly debates, and the capacity for independent critical thinking. Due six weeks after the intensive period.

Formative Assessment:

Each course within Edinburgh Futures Institute includes the opportunity for you to participate in a formative feedback exercise or event which will help you prepare for your summative assessment. The formative assessment does not contribute to your overall course mark.

Formative feedback will be provided through discussion board activities, where teaching staff will comment on students' contributions. Additional live formative feedback will be given on group work on the second day of the intensive study day of the course. This feedback will include a discussion of group dynamics and project management to address any potential difficulties groups encounter.

The course organiser will be available to meet with groups to discuss work in progress and mediate any significant problems or disagreements within the group that cannot be resolved internally.
Feedback Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.

Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Summative Assessment:

Summative feedback will be given on the group presentation and second written assessment.

Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback will be provided through discussion board activities, where teaching staff will comment on students' contributions. Additional live formative feedback will be given on group work on the second day of the intensive study day of the course. This feedback will include a discussion of group dynamics and project management to address any potential difficulties groups encounter.

The course organiser will be available to meet with groups to discuss work in progress and mediate any significant problems or disagreements within the group that cannot be resolved internally.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the key theories and concepts relating to inequality and exclusion in global value chains.
  2. Work with key concepts, indicators and data produced about global value chains which enable us to measure them.
  3. Critically review differing perspectives in debates on how to alleviate forms of inequalities and exclusion in global value chains.
  4. Apply the knowledge, skills and understanding outlined in learning objectives 1 to 3 in conjunction with value chain research methods to map and analyse a specific industry and produce policy proposals.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:

Essential Reading:

Dallas, M. P., Ponte, S., & Sturgeon, T. J. (2019). Power in global value chains. Review of International Political Economy, 26(4), pp. 666-694.

Ponte, S (2019) Business, Power and Sustainability in a world of Global Value Chains. London: Zed.

Barrientos, S. (2019). Changing Gender Patterns of Work in Global Value Chains: Capturing the Gains? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Milberg, W., & Winkler, D. (2011). Economic and social upgrading in global production networks: Problems of theory and measurement. International Labour Review, 150(3-4), pp. 341-365.

Rossi, A. (2013). Does economic upgrading lead to social upgrading in global production networks? Evidence from Morocco. World Development, 46, pp. 223-233.

Lund-Thomsen, P., Nadvi, K., Chan, A., Khara, N., & Xue, H. (2012). Labour in global value chains: Work conditions in football manufacturing in China, India and Pakistan. Development and Change, 43(6), 1211-1237.

Bair, J., & Palpacuer, F. (2015). CSR beyond the corporation: contested governance in global value chains. Global Networks, 15(1), pp. 1-19.

Selwyn, B., Musiolek, B., & Ijarja, A. (2020). Making a global poverty chain: export footwear production and gendered labor exploitation in Eastern and Central Europe. Review of International Political Economy, 27(2), 377-403

Gereffi, G., & Fernandez-Stark, K. (2016). Global value chain analysis: a primer. Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC), Duke University.

Recommended Reading:

Milberg, W., & Winkler, D. (2013). Outsourcing economics: global value chains in capitalist development. Cambridge University Press.

Nadvi, K. (2008). Global standards, global governance and the organization of global value chains. Journal of Economic Geography, 8(3), 323-343.

Frederick W. Mayer & Nicola Phillips (2017) Outsourcing governance: states and the politics of a 'global value chain world', New Political Economy, 22:2, 134-152

Coe, N. M., & Yeung, H. W. C. (2015). Global production networks: Theorizing economic development in an interconnected world. Oxford University Press.

Oya, C., Schaefer, F., & Skalidou, D. (2018). The effectiveness of agricultural certification in developing
countries: A systematic review. World Development, 112, 282-312.

Henson, S. and J. Humphrey, 2010. 'Understanding the Complexities of Private Standards in Global Agri-Food Chains as they Impact Developing Countries'. Journal of Development Studies, 46 (9): 1628-46.

Selwyn, B. (2015). Commodity chains, creative destruction and global inequality: a class analysis. Journal of Economic Geography, 15(2), 253-274.

Further Reading:

Werner, M., Bair, J., & Fernández, V. R. (2014). Linking up to development? Global value chains and the making of a post-Washington Consensus. Development and Change, 45(6), 1219-1247.

Gereffi, G. (2018). Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the Contours of 21st Century Capitalism. Cambridge University Press.

Seguino, S., & Braunstein, E. (2019). The costs of exclusion: Gender job segregation, structural change and the labour share of income. Development and Change, 50(4), 976-1008.

Henson, S. and S. Jaffee, 2006. 'Food Safety Standards and Trade: Enhancing Competitiveness and Avoiding Exclusion of Developing Countries'. European Journal of Development Research, 18 (4): 593-621.

Cramer, C., Johnston, D., Oya, C., & Sender, J. (2014). Fairtrade cooperatives in Ethiopia and Uganda: Uncensored. Review of African Political Economy, 41 (S1), 115-127

Nadvi, K. and Raj-Reichert, G. (2015), 'Governing Health and Safety at Lower Tiers of the Computer Industry Global Value Chain', Regulation & Governance, 9 (3), pp. 243-58.

Phillips, N. (2013), 'Unfree Labour and Adverse Incorporation in the Global Economy: Comparative Perspectives from Brazil and India', Economy and Society, 42 (2), pp. 171-96.

Heron, T., Prado, P. and West, C. (2018) 'Global Value Chains and the Governance of 'Embedded' Food Commodities: The Case of Soy'. Global Policy, 9 (S2), pp. 29-37.

Neilson, J., Pritchard, B., Fold, N., & Dwiartama, A. (2018). Lead firms in the cocoa-chocolate global production network: An assessment of the deductive capabilities of GPN 2.0. Economic Geography, 94(4), 400-424.

Neilson, J. (2008). Global private regulation and value-chain restructuring in Indonesian smallholder
coffee systems. World Development, 36(9), 1607-1622.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Knowledge and Understanding:
- A critical understanding of a range of specialised theories, concepts and principles.
- Extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in one or more specialisms, much of which is at, or informed by, developments at the forefront.
- A critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline/sector and one or more specialisms.

Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding:
- Ability to use a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with the subject/discipline/sector.
- Ability to plan and execute a significant project of research, investigation or development.
- Ability to demonstrate originality and/or creativity, including in practice.

Generic Cognitive Skills:
- Development of original and creative responses to problems and issues.
- Capacity to critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking across disciplines, subjects, and sectors.
- Ability to deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills:
- Communication, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
- Communication with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.
- Use of a wide range of ICT applications to support and enhance work at this level and adjust features to suit purpose.
- Critical evaluation of a wide range of textual, numerical and graphical data.

Autonomy, Accountability, and Working with Others:
- Responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for group work.
- Demonstration of leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development and/or new thinking.
- Practice in ways which draw on critical reflection on own and others' roles and responsibilities
- Management of complex ethical and professional issues and informed judgement on issues not addressed by current professional and/or ethical codes or practices.
KeywordsInequality,Exclusion,Value Chains,Development,EFI,Level 11
Course organiserDr Andrew Bowman
Tel: (0131 6)51 1000
Course secretaryMr Lawrence East
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