Not available in 2024/25
DV465      Half Unit
Labour, Social Services and Development

This information is for the 2024/25 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 Policy, Planning and Financing, 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

Development relies on a global workforce of health, care, and education workers in the public, voluntary/informal, and increasingly the private sector. This course examines this global workforce and the politics of labour for social development. It examines a set of cross-cutting development themes including the politics of training and skills, workforce migration and brain drain, and gendered and racialized divisions of labour.  Students will learn to critically analyse debates about public sector wages in development strategies, 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 for the workplace, communities, and the state.

The course is broadly grounded in labour studies and feminist theories of social reproduction and care, and draws on research in disciplines including sociology, medical anthropology, political science, labour history, and public administration. It has a global outlook, working with case studies and examples from different regions and continents. It is both hands-on by unpacking current workforce challenges for development, and critical by uncovering historical roots of these challenges and mobilizing social theory to interpret them.


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

  • Chambers-Ju, Christopher 2024: Mobilizing Teachers: Education Politics and the New Labor Movement in Latin America. Cambridge 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 2023/24: 17

Average class size 2023/24: 18

Controlled access 2023/24: 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

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication