Poverty, Human Rights and Development

Subject LAWS70430 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

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:

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

Subject Overview:

Human rights, 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 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 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 measurement 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), UNDP)
  • 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 movements to fight poverty.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of human rights, development and poverty
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the similarities and differences between human rights, 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 Millennium Development Goals and post 2015 Agenda, and critical issues at the intersection of human rights, development and poverty such as HIV, gender inequality, 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 case study or national review
  • Have a detailed understanding of specific human rights related development issues such as education, livelihood opportunities, property and inheritance practices, and economics
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating economic and social, as well as civil and political human rights, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to human rights, development and poverty
  • 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 autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of human rights law and international development.
  • Class participation (20%)*
  • Take-home examination (80%) (28 May - 1 June)
  • 6,000-8,000 word research paper (80%) (22 July) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

*Class participation includes the in-class presentation (individual, or in groups of two is agreed in advance). The timing and topics of these presentations will be discussed and scheduled on the first day of class. It also includes two short response papers (max 500 words each). The first shall be submitted by 5pm on Friday April 24 and the second by 5pm on Tuesday April 28.

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: www.law.unimelb.edu.au/subject/LAWS70430/2015

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website www.law.unimelb.edu.au/masters/courses-and-subjects/subjects/subject-timing-and-format for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Government Law
Graduate Diploma in Human Rights Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Human Rights Law
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Master of Public and International Law

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