DV465      Half Unit
Global Health Work: Expertise and Labour

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr.Tine Hanrieder


This course is available on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Management (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Economic Policy for International Development, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Global Health Policy, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (Human Resource Management/CIPD), MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations/CIPD), MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Human Rights and Politics, MSc in Inequalities and Social Science, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy, MSc in International Migration and Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Places will be allocated with priority first to MSc Health and International Development students and then to students on International Development and joint-degree programmes.  In cases where there are more applicants than spaces then places will be allocated randomly in accordance with the priorities listed above. Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option.

Course content

The course examines the political and moral economy of global health work. It examines a set of cross-cutting development themes including the politics of education, workforce migration and brain drain, and gendered and racialized divisions of labour. The course introduces students to the historical and localized genealogies of health workforce challenges and discusses key issues and controversies, among them: debates about workers’ cost-effectiveness, the politics of professionalism and precarization, the role of volunteering and unpaid work, the moral and political economies of “corruption”, the gains and losses incurred from labour migration, and the role of trade unions and international NGOs in workforce governance. The course mostly draws on research in sociology and anthropology, but also includes insights from political science, critical public health, and the social studies of science. It has a global outlook, working with case studies and examples from different regions and continents. Students will learn to critically analyse global health workforce politics from different perspectives. They will learn to question and contextualize transnational and national policies for training, retaining, and regulating health workers and to interrogate conceptions of (cost-)effective work.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the WT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation and 1 other piece of coursework in the WT.

Formative feedback on an essay outline is provided.

Indicative reading

• Biju, B.L. 2013: Angels Are Turning Red: Nurses’ Strikes in Kerala, in: Economic and Political Weekly 48: 52, 25-28.

• Choe, Catherine Ceniza 2003: Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

• Maes, Kenneth 2017: The Lives of Community Health Workers: Local Labor and Global Health in Urban Ethiopia. Routledge.

• Marks, Shula 1994: Divided Sisterhood: Race, Class and Gender in the South African Nursing Profession. Wits University Press.

• Rodriguez, Robyn Magalit 2010: Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World. University of Minnesota Press.

• Wichterich, Christa & Maya John (eds.) 2023: Who Cares?: Care Extraction and the Struggles of Indian Health Workers. Zubaan Books.


Essay (70%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Blog post (10%) and blog post (20%) in the WT.

The blog post receiving the higher mark is weighted 20%, the other 10%.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2022/23: 19

Average class size 2022/23: 19

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

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

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication