SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 30.00
ECTS Credit Points 15.00
Module Code MML324148
Module Leader Bill Hughes
School School for Work Based Education
Subject SCWBE
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

Neoliberal austerity in the wake of the economic collapse of 2008 has exacerbated inequality and accelerated the gap between rich and poor, nationally and globally. States have cut welfare provision, increasing significantly the populations of precarious and vulnerable persons. Mass forced migration from the war torn Middle-East to Europe has raised tensions between a politics of hospitality and a politics of resentment. These remain unresolved by the Europe as it struggles with deep fiscal and political problems. Reactionary perspectives on rights and citizenship are commonplace in these circumstances. On the contrary, other developments have been more positive. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the wave of revolutions that swept across Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America in the 1990s, and most recently, the 'Arab Spring' hinted at possibilities of democratic renewal. Locally, civil society has been revitalised by the referendum on Scottish independence and the emergence of grass roots approaches to politics, albeit in a wider UK context of conservative power. These events - both negative and progressive - have invigorated debates about the nature of human rights, citizenship and inclusion. This module will address the following questions: Have these developments constrained or, on the contrary, people to exercise their political and economic autonomy? How has political and social activism changed in response to the major historical developments that have occurred over the past 20 years? Do we still need to fight for human rights or are they safe in neoliberal hands? What does it mean to be a 'citizen'? Our students work to empower people to become involved, to participate in their communities; they help strengthen civil society and participative democracy and to challenge discrimination and inequality. As practitioners in the making of active citizens and the strengthening of citizenship, students are invited to reflect on their practical experience by engaging with a range of academic research produced by staff contributing to the course. The overall aim of this module is to explore values and methods for working effectively as an activist and actor in civil society and public organisations involved in the promotion of citizenship. How can human rights be translated into achievable goals and inclusive practice in practical work-based settings? The module will explore the use of citizenship an advocacy tool; a tool for the development of grass roots democracy, community empowerment and progressive social policy.


The material for the course will be delivered in 2X2 day face-to-face session and facilitated digital learning including: online lectures, podcasts, video-casts and moderated online discussions. Invited guests with senior roles in major civil society organisations involved in the promotion of citizenship and human rights will contribute to the face-to-face session. Lectures will be 'issue' based and reflect the research output and interests of staff who are engaged in the production of knowledge about inequalities, citizenship and discrimination. The direction of debate around these issues will be open; determined by the ways in which student use the material in light of their practical experience and the social, political and economic context in which the debates take place. This will lead, inevitably, to variation in the syllabus over time and across cohorts. The syllabus below is, therefore, indicative of current research strengths within the teaching team and the conceptual lexicon that is core to the social scientific knowledge produced by the team but its use will be fluid (dependent on student expertise and contemporary context). Activism and advocacy for empowerment: Participatory democracy and anti-discrimination; Active citizenship; Participatory Democracy; Civil Society and Human rights; Difference and diversity; Community empowerment; Marginalisation, stigmatisation, recognition and the construction of the other. -359 A AAnti-discriminatory practice exploring: Poverty and welfare; Ethnicity racism and religion; Ableism and disablism including human rights approaches to disability and inclusive practice for intellectually disabled people; Sexism and violence against women; Gender and sexuality; Ageism and alienation, human rights and old people; Working with refugees and asylum seekers; Working with children. Human rights institutions; Claiming Rights; Human rights protests and social movements: Using human rights in everyday settings; Use of human rights frameworks. The module content will be organised around the following key words that are central to critical human rights praxis: equity, equality, empowerment, accountability, conflict, solidarity and participation. These words suggest activities which include: protecting/struggling for rights and citizenship, community integration and mobilization, involving people as actors in their own development, promoting inclusion, challenging injustice and discrimination.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:1. Demonstrate critical and practical understanding of ideas of citizenship, human rights, social justice, and political and community activism. 2. Develop, critically evaluate and implement policies and practices to translate citizenship and human rights discourse into strategies and actions for community integration and mobilization, involving people as actors in their own development, promoting inclusion, challenging injustice and discrimination.3. Critically analyse and implement policies by using citizenship and human rights as a political, promotional or advocacy tool, a tool for policy planning and programming, and as an instrument for legal action.4. Critically reflect on personal and professional practice in interpersonal relationships and in relation to inclusive human rights practice.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

At the centre to the teaching and learning strategy will be an academic/ practitioner partnership model in which staff and practitioners will be expected to learn from one another and benefit mutually from the meeting of experts with complementary skills. Learning, teaching and assessment will also be underpinned by a work based blended learning strategy that emphasises the ability to apply learning incrementally in a real time context. Teaching and learning on this module will be organised/undertaken via the University virtual learning environment (VLE), GCU Learn and 2x2day Face-to-face Sessions. GCU Learn will be used: (a) To update distance learning materials, including module-related literature - scanned copies, E-books, journal publications, audio-video materials, 'virtual' lectures etc.; (b) To enable reflective work-based learning in which students will take part in a range of learning activities, including developing project portfolios, participating in group discussions, reflecting on 'virtual' lectures; (c) To create online communities where participants can share their ideas and feedback on learning. These activities will be supported by (2x2 day) face-to-face interactions between participants and the module team. The following range of e-learning tools (GCU Learn Campus Pack) will be used in this module: wiki/e-portfolio, discussion board, personal development plan, private reflections. The lecture programme will be supplemented by directed reading that will be used to inform on-line seminar discussions and assessment. Virtual student engagement, group cohesion and the formation of communities of learning and practice will be developed via a range of activities workshops and both student-led and staff-led exercises during face-to-face module sessions. Both virtual and face-to-face sessions will also be designed to facilitate effective peer support for learning and practice. Summative assessment, based upon a portfolio of continuous assessment is designed around the development of mutual learning between practitioners and academics as they trade skills and experience for conceptual and theoretical knowledge.

Indicative Reading

Alcoff, L. (2014) The Future of Whiteness, Cambridge: Polity Press Arjomand, S., and Reis, E.P. (2013) Worlds of Difference, London: Sage Balibar, E. (2015) Citizenship, Cambridge: Polity Press Bradley, H. (2012) Gender, 2 nd Edition, Cambridge: Polity Press Connell, R., and Pearse, R (2014) Gender in World Perspective, Cambridge: Polity Press Crick, B., and Lockyear, A. (Eds.) (2010) Active Citizenship: What Could it Achieve, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press Crowder, G. (2013) Theories of Multiculturalism, Cambridge: Polity Press Garcia Iriarte, E., McConkey, R., and Gilligan, R. (2015) Disability and Human Rights, Basingstoke, Palgrave Goodley, D. (2014) Dis/ability Studies: Theorising disablism and ableism, London: Routledge Green, D. (2012) From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World, London: Practical Action Publishing Guibernau, M. (2013) Belonging, Cambridge: Polity Honeth, A. (2013) Freedom's Right: The Social Foundations of Democratic Life, Cambridge: Polity Jaggar, A. (2013) Gender and Global Justice, Cambridge: Polity Press Jasper, J. (2014) Protest: A Cultural Introduction to Social Movements, Cambridge: Polity Press Jopke, C. (2010) Citizenship and Immigration, Cambridge: Polity Press Madison D.S. (2010) Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Meer, N. (2014) Key Concepts in Race and Ethnicity, London: Sage Modood, T. (2013) Multiculturalism, 2 nd Edition, Cambridge: Polity Press Myers, J.C. (2010) The Politics of Equality: An introduction. New York: Zed Books O'Hara, M. (2014) Austerity Bites, Bristol: Policy Press Oliver, M., Sapey, B., and Thomas, P. (2012) Social Work with Disabled People (4 th Edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Platt, L. (2011) Understanding Inequalities, Cambridge: Polity Quraishi, M. and Philburn, R. (2014) Researching Racism, London: Sage Schock, K (2015) Civil Resistance Today, Cambridge: Polity Press Streeck, W., and Schafer, A. (2013) Politics in the Age of Austerity, Cambridge: Polity Swain, J., French, S., Barnes, C., and Thomas, C. (2013) Disabling Barriers: Enabling Environments, 3 rd Edition, London: Sage Taylor, P. (2013) Race: A Philosophical Introduction, Cambridge: Polity Press Therborn, G. (2013) The Killing Fields of Inequality, Cambridge: Polity Press Thompson, N. (2008) Anti-Discriminatory Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Tyler, I. (2013) Revolting Subjects, London: Zed Books West, D. (2013) Social Movements in Global Politics, Cambridge: Polity Press Winlow, S., and Hall, S. (2013) Rethinking Social Exclusion: The End of the Social, London: Sage Journals The Journal of Human Rights The International Journal of Human Rights Citizenship Studies Organisations Birkbeck, University of London: International Centre for Education for Democratic Citizenship Stanford University: Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law Deakin University, Australia: Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights University of Essex: Human Rights Centre Equality and Human Rights Commission (Publications) The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) (Publications)

Transferrable Skills

Time management Ability to work independently and in groups Critical analysis/reflection on complex contemporary social issues Ability to debate and discuss sensitive issues with confidence Ability to critique moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding ideas of human rights, equality, social justice and citizenship in relation to professional practice and personal professional development Communication and presentational skills On-line/IT literacy: information search, retrieval and use

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (PT) 24.00
Assessment (PT) 40.00
Independent Learning (PT) 212.00
Tutorials (PT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 50.00 45% Strategic Report (2500 words)
Coursework 2 n/a 50.00 45% Seminar presentation plus two 1000 word essays (2500)