Course Details

Semester One 

Labour and Development

This course analyses the role of labour in economic development, both historically and in the current time of globalisation, with a focus on Southern Africa and the Global South. The course will look at the role of labour as an active agent of economic and political transformation.

Advanced Social Research

The aim of this course will be to allow students to formulate, clarify and focus their research questions, understand and develop explanatory models for their project, and become familiar with various research designs. This will lead them to where they will be required to prepare draft proposals within the framework of the course but working with their individual supervisors.

Semester Two 

Economic Sociology: Institutions, Capitalism and Markets

This course will introduce students to the main paradigms that shape modern economic policy debates and positions. Although it is not an economics course, it will, nonetheless, provide post-graduate students in the social sciences with a solid grounding in economic and social theory in a manner that will enable effective policy advocacy and critique. Sophisticated theoretical discussion, plus detailed reading, plus policy analysis, forms the core of the course, which is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the capitalist system, and its limitations. This course does not require any prior knowledge of economics or economic theory. Without understanding the larger models that frame discussion and debate, it is impossible to develop an effective grasp of quite elementary questions relating to economic and social justice; and, when trapped within our assumptions, we struggle to develop critical thinking and analysis. Regardless of whether one opposes or supports the capitalist system, one will be in a position to argue one's position, understand its political implications and its applicability to real-world policy issues, and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of alternative assessments. The four main paradigms that will be dealt with are, respectively, economic liberalism, Keynesianism, Marxism and anarchism. 

 In addition, students will give close readings to key macro-economic policy documents drawn from the local context, and learn how to read and assess such papers. The aim of this reading is partly practical: first, to introduce students to macro-economic policy documents of decisive importance – decisive, at the very least, as statements of orientation by particular class forces; second, to apply knowledge from the four main texts to the analysis of these documents, developing an understanding of the paradigms informing policies and learning to read and assess policy papers; and, third, to equip students for policy work. Equally importantly, this reading introduces students to the synergies of theory and practice: that is, to the practical applications and political implications of different economic paradigms.

Research Report