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Unit information: Children in a Global Context in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Children in a Global Context
Unit code SPOL32008
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Alba Lanau
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will examine childhood in an international context. It applies a child rights framework to describe and discuss the current situation of children around the world. There will be a focus on the interaction between poverty and the economic and social rights accorded to women and children.

Teaching will be topic based, considering for example

  • Perspectives on global development
  • Conceptualisation and measurement of child poverty and wellbeing
  • The rights of children to basic services (health and nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation)
  • The place of children and child rights in development programmes
  • Policies to provide social justice for children

Seminars are mandatory and will incorporate guided discussion and group exercises.


  • To present a child centred view of international development
  • To present a critical reading of theory and research of relevance to global policies for children
  • To familiarise students with the notion of children’s agency
  • To give students an informed view of the global context for childhood
  • To explain the interchanges between policy areas
  • To familiarize students with human rights-based approach as a conceptual framework.
  • To illustrate the multiple contexts for a happy childhood

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will:

  • Be familiar with the UNCRC
  • Be familiar with the impacts on children of topics covered
  • Understand debates about the conceptualisation and measurement of child poverty
  • Be aware of the scope and nature of international development programmes aimed at improving child wellbeing
  • Have experience of using indicators of child wellbeing

Teaching details

Lectures, seminars and student led study.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: 2,000 word essay using the State of the World’s Children (current edition each year) focussing on a topic set each year and using student’s quantitative skills.

Summative assessment: 3,000 word essay following students’ own study. Students will be asked to research one subject covered in the course and complete a 3,000 word essay

Reading and References

  • Adamson, P., Bradshaw, J., Hoelscher, P. and Richardson, D. (2007) Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries, Innocenti Report Card, vol. 7, Unicef Innocenti Research Centre, Florence, Italy. (Pamphlet HV713 CHI also online at )
  • Ben-Arieh, A. and H. Wintersberger (eds.): 1996, Monitoring and Measuring the State of Children – Beyond Survival, Eurosocial Report No. 62 (European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Vienna, Austria). []
  • Dean, H. (2010) Understanding Human Needs. Bristol: policy Press.
  • Gordon D, Nandy S, Pantazis C, Pemberton S, Townsend P (2003), Child Poverty in the Developing World, Bristol: Policy Press. [Pamphlet HV804 CHI]
  • Johnstone, G. (ed.) (2013) A Restorative Justice Reader. 2nd edn. London: Routledge. [HV8688 RES]
  • Minujin A and Nandy S (Eds.) (2012) Global child poverty and well-being: Measurement, concepts, policy and action, Bristol: The Policy Press. (HV804 GLO, and as an e-book); also available at: