The programme is for students who want to analyse and work on social change for the working poor in developing countries. It is highly relevant to anyone working or intending to work on labour and labour-related social movements in development agencies and NGOs, labour and solidarity movements, corporate social responsibility initiatives, and to activists in both developed and developing countries. We welcome students with a strong background in the social sciences in their first degree, as well as practitioners and professionals working in the areas of development, labour and employment relations, social movements and other related fields.
A unique Programme
This innovative new programme offers students the opportunity to study labour conditions and relations, social movements of labour and their contributions to development processes and changes in the South. It is the first and only MSc programme in the UK dedicated to Labour, Social Movements and Development. It provides a critical examination of the links between labour, capitalism, development and poverty. It investigates labour in contemporary social and economic development of the South as well as classic and newly emerging social movements of labour in local, national and international spaces. Students will also have the opportunity to experience labour campaigns and policy-making in practice by participating in our interactive sessions on designing and implementing international, regional and national labour campaigns and policies. The MSc draws on the expertise of Department of Development Studies staff in labour, social movements and development in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and on our contacts within such movements, as well as with NGOs and international organisations.
The MSc in Labour, Social Movements and Development explores different theories and methods for the study of the working poor in the South, and offers a critical examination of the links between labour, capitalism, development and poverty, and of the role of social movements and international initiatives for labour.
- Labour process and organisations: development trajectories and divisions in the South
- A comparative history of labour and social movements in countries such as China, Korea, India, South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East
- Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives, codes of conduct and anti-sweatshop campaigning
- The impact of neoliberalism and globalisation on workers in the South
- Informalisation of labour, casualization and precarious work
- Feminisation of labour
- The worst forms of exploitation: forced labour and child labour
- Rural labour, migrant labour and labour in Export Processing Zones
- Household and reproductive labour
- The International Labour Organisation, international labour standards and decent work
- Practices and theories of local, national and international labour campaigns.
The unique regional expertise at SOAS allows students of the MSc in Labour, Social Movements and Development to specialise in some of the most dynamic parts of the developing world. The programme’s emphasis on transferable analytical skills will be of great benefit to graduates who return to, or take up, professional careers in international organisations, government agencies and non-governmental organisations and movements. Students also benefit from the wide range of modules on offer, both within the department and across the School, allowing them to create individualised interdisciplinary programmes.
- Overview There are four main components to this degree: three taught modules and a 10,000 word dissertation. All students take a core module, Labour, Social Movements and Development. They then select one of two further modules: Political Economy of Development or Theory, Policy and Practice of Development. Through these modules students build their analytical skills and knowledge of the main issues and debates in Development Studies.
- Specialisation Students also take optional modules (one full unit module or two half-unit modules), allowing them to specialise in particular areas of development and potentially to develop a dissertation in a related theme. By tying these to their individual dissertation topic, students design their degree to suit their own interests and career development goals.
Students should be aware that not all optional modules may run in a given year. Modules at other institutions are not part of the approved programme structure.
- SOAS Library SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Teaching & Learning
Modules are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.
The MSc programme consists of three taught modules (corresponding to three examination papers) and a dissertation.
Most modules involve a two hour lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes.
At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work. Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write papers that often require significant independent work.
A quarter of the work for the degree is given over to the writing of an adequately researched 10,000-word dissertation. Students are encouraged to take up topics which relate the study of a particular region to a body of theory.
A postgraduate degree in Labour, Social Movements and Development from SOAS provides graduates with a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by employers, including analytical skills, the ability to think laterally and employ critical reasoning, and knowing how to present materials and ideas effectively both orally and in writing. Equally graduates are able to continue in the field of research, continuing their studies either at SOAS or other institutions.
An MSc in Labour, Social Movements and Development is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
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