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Human rights, community development and poverty are three areas that demand both critical academic scholarship as well as committed practical intervention. The three areas are distinct yet also overlapping, and this subject will explore the personal, political, programmatic and conceptual dimensions of theories and practice in all three areas.
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this subject will explore how human rights have been invoked to challenge development practices that produce or exacerbate extreme poverty and how international development institutions like the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have incorporated human rights principles in their poverty alleviation initiatives. Throughout, this subject will take a historical and critical perspective, working with case studies to interrogate the efficacy of human rights practices to challenge the underlying geopolitical dynamics that produce and perpetuate global poverty. This subject will be grounded in the lived experiences of people in different contexts around the world, to localise the conceptual discussions within the dynamic realities of everyday life.
Principal topics include:
- Concepts of human rights
- Law and legal consciousness in everyday life
- Scope, distribution and socio-political dynamics of global poverty
- Questions of measuring development and monitoring economic and social change
- Representation and social mobilisation of human rights, development and poverty concerns.
- Overview of major international organisations charged with poverty alleviation (World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Development Program)
- Amartya Sen’s capabilities approach to human development
- History and theory of the right to development and rights-based development
- Concept of poverty as a human rights violation
- Human rights conditionalities on development projects (for example, related to economic management or social inclusion)
- The pragmatic use of rights rhetoric and tools to build social movements to fight poverty
- Thematic case studies on areas including health (focusing on HIV), gender equality, education, food security and civic participation in local and national decision-making processes.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of human rights, community development and poverty
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the similarities and differences between human rights, community development and poverty
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as different international aid mechanisms, representations of poverty, the Sustainable Development Goals, Millennium Development Goals and post 2015 Agenda, as well as the critical issues at the intersection of human rights, development and poverty such as HIV, gender equality, and education
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of different conceptual foundations for human rights, development and poverty and the potentially different contextual impact this may have
- Have an advanced understanding of at least one case study to provide in-depth analysis of human rights, development and poverty in a real life setting, for example through an institutional or thematic case study, or a national policy and indicator review
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding human rights, develop and poverty to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate self-awareness and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of human rights law and international development.
Last updated: 30 January 2024