LSE100C      Half Unit
The LSE Course: How can we create a fair society?

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Christopher Blunt KSW.4.12 and Dr Jillian Terry KSW.4.11


The course will be compulsory for all first year undergraduate students.

Course content

LSE100 is LSE’s flagship interdisciplinary course taken by all first-year undergraduate students as part of your degree programme. The course is designed to build your capacity to tackle multidimensional problems through research-rich education, giving you the opportunity to explore transformative global challenges in collaboration with peers from other departments and leading academics from across the School. Before registering at LSE, you will have the opportunity to select one of three themes to focus on during LSE100, each of which foregrounds a complex and pressing question facing social scientists. In 2022/23, the available themes are: 

  • How can we avert climate catastrophe? 
  • How can we control AI?
  • How can we create a fair society? 

In the ‘How can we create a fair society?’ theme, you will explore contrasting understandings of fairness and how these shape our responses to inequality and injustice. Despite the economic instability of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 marked the steepest increase in global billionaires’ share of wealth on record. As income and wealth inequality increase while gender and ethnicity gaps widen, we are increasingly asking: is this fair? How do we measure fairness? What do we owe each other, and whose responsibility is it to ensure an equitable approach? This module explores the tensions between competing understandings of fairness and asks how we can draw on social scientific expertise to create a fair society. Whether across the boroughs of London or within complex humanitarian responses to international conflict, we will consider what fairness looks like in the 21st century and how we might achieve it.

Throughout LSE100, you will investigate the ways in which systems are transforming and being transformed by complex questions of fairness. You will learn to use the tools and frameworks of systems thinking in order to analyse the impacts of inequalities, broaden your intellectual experience, and deepen your understanding of your own discipline as you test theories, evidence and ideas from different disciplinary perspectives.


7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

90-minute seminars take place in alternate weeks. Students will attend an LSE100 seminar in either weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 or weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of Michaelmas term, and weeks 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 or weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 of Lent term.

MT: Seminar – 5 x 90min

LT: Seminar – 5 x 90min

In addition to seminars students will engage with bespoke video lectures featuring academics from across the School (approx. 20 minutes per seminar).

Formative coursework

In seminars throughout both terms, students will practice:

  1. analysing quantitative and qualitative data
  2. using systems thinking and systems change tools
  3. constructing and communicating evidence-based academic arguments

Teachers will provide feedback during seminars and in post-seminar communications to groups and individuals.

During the Lent Term, students will also have the opportunity to try out the tools of systems thinking and systems change that they will use in their digital reports and presentations.

Indicative reading

The following readings are indicative of the texts students will be assigned. The total amount of reading assigned for each seminar will be a maximum of 20 pages.

  • Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo (2019). Good economics for hard times: better answers to our biggest problems (London: Allen Lane)
  • Minouche Shafik (2021) What we owe each other: a new social contract for a better society (Princeton University Press).
  • Janna Thompson (2010), “What is Intergenerational Justice?”, Future Justice, 2010:5-20
  • Paul Lewis, et al. (2011) Reading the riots: investigating England's summer of disorder. (London School of Economics and Political Science and The Guardian: London, UK)
  • Thomas Piketty (2015). The economics of inequality. (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
  • Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson (2010) The spirit level: why equality is better for everyone (London: Penguin)  
  • Michael Sandel (2010). ‘Justice and the common good’, in Justice: what is the right thing to do? (Penguin).
  • Oran R. Young (2017). ‘The age of complexity’ in Governing Complex Systems: Social Capital for the Anthropocene (MIT Press)


Coursework (50%, 1500 words) in the MT.
Project (50%) in the LT.

Summative assessment will include an individual written assessment in the Michaelmas Term (50%) and a collaborative research project in the Lent Term (50%).

Key facts

Department: LSE

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills