Global Poverty, Local Solutions


About this minor

Global poverty remains the most pressing social problem. This minor provides students with tools to develop their concern for global poverty by introducing concepts, theories, trends and illuminating case studies on poverty and poverty-reduction interventions. No prior knowledge of economics is required. This minor is coordinated by the ISS, a leading center for the study of international development.

This minor introduces students from all academic backgrounds to the analysis of global poverty. It helps students develop their interest for global affairs and social change by guiding them into discovering how contemporay social sciences are applied to the study of global poverty. Students will become familiar with the main concepts of poverty and inequality, with alternative explanations on the persistence of growing global inequalities and with the contibution of critical development studies. The course includes an overview of major trends in growth and poverty across different regions and social groups. It also examines how inequality is directly associated with patterns of development. A second module focuses on diverse forms of poverty (e.g. child poverty, rural poverty, housing poverty) and their specific impact on different social groups. The final module guides students through a critical assessment of global and local interventions designed to alleviate poverty. Students will gain insight into the historical evolvement of multilateral, regional and local institutions and will evaluate the logic and performance of interventions ranging from structural adjustment and development assistance, to cash-transfers and microfinance to develop informed and practical perspectives on dealing with poverty and inequality.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • assess global trends in poverty and impoverishment;
  • comprehend and apply various conceptualizations of poverty, vulnerability and social exclusion, analyze the multidimensional manifestations of poverty, and have an insight into the position of women and children as particularly vulnerable groups;
  • develop an understanding of the design, potentialities and limits of current poverty reduction schemes and programmes at macro, meso and micro levels;
  • identify alternative strategies, policy interventions and innovative subaltern responses aimed at eliminating poverty on the basis of principles of gender justice and social and economic justice.

Good to know

No prior knowledge of economics is required. Sessions are in person, predominantly at the ISS but some sessions in Woudestein. Attendance is mandatory.

Teaching method and examination

Teaching methods
This minor is taught through a series of two-hour lectures, weekly workshops and small group tutorials. There will also be movies, role playing games, group presentations, and meetings with international ISS students.

Teaching materials
Students will be expected to read one or two articles before each lecture. An electronic reader with core articles by ISS staff and other international scholars will be provided. In addition to academic articles, there will be media notes, movies, and role playing games.

Method of examination & Composition final grade
Invigilated exam (30%), final essay (40%), group presentation (15%), tutorial assignments (15%)

Link to more information

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