Poverty and Human Rights

Subject LAWS70430 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit: www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
Website: www.law.unimelb.edu.au/masters

Subject Overview:

As global poverty and North/South inequality become increasing sources of political conflict and humanitarian crisis, human rights is increasingly becoming a normative concept and pragmatic tool for countering it. This subject will survey and critically examine that trend. The course will look particularly at how human rights has 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 (UN) Development Programme have incorporated human rights principles in their poverty alleviation initiatives. Throughout the course we 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.

Principal topics will include:

  • Scope, distribution, socio-political dynamics of global poverty
  • History of economic and social rights norms, ideas and UN doctrine
  • Post World War II critical history of major economic development and poverty alleviation theories
  • Overview of major international organisations charged with poverty alleviation (World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), UN Development Programme)
  • 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
  • The pragmatic use of rights rhetoric and tools to build social movement to fight poverty.

A candidate who has successfully completed the subject should:

  • Have a sound understanding of the normative basis, historical development, and political deployment of the concept and doctrine of economic and social rights
  • Have a theoretical and empirical foundation in the distribution and dynamics of extreme poverty in the “Global South”
  • Have knowledge of the major theories of poverty alleviation manifested in development discourse from World War II to the present
  • Understand the current policy debates over strategies for “poverty alleviation” in the Global South
  • Understand when and how economic and social rights has been enlisted as a strategy for poverty alleviation
  • Understand the critiques of the melding of economic and social rights with poverty alleviation
  • Develop a position about the optimal relation between economic and social rights and poverty alleviation and be able to make that stance relevant to particular policy contexts

Two response papers to reading (20%)

Group presentation (30%)

5,000 word research paper (50%) (2 October) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/subject/LAWS70430/2013

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