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 presentation)

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.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.