Power and Social Perspectives on Development (939M9)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Autumn teaching

This module is concerned with the relationship between citizens and the state and, in particular, with ways in which citizens can participate in and influence the affairs of the state.

It is divided into two parts, each with five sessions led by a team of fellows from the Participation team.

Part one provides you with an overview of concepts, meanings and practices of citizen engagement.

In particular, we will explore:

  • different theories of power and approaches to social and political empowerment
  • the nature of civil and political societies and "the spaces in between" and their role in democratisation processes
  • concepts of 'deepening democracy' and participatory democracy.

In part two you examine some of the processes and channels through which citizens participate in, and influence, the affairs of the state. We look at:

  • participation in local government
  • the nature and role of social movements
  • processes of institutionalising inclusive democracies via increased formal representation (affirmative action)
  • the challenges of promoting local processes of democratic change from the outside. 


100%: Seminar (Class)


100%: Coursework (Essay, Group submission (written))

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 256 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.