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Global Social Policy: The Political Economy of Social Reproduction


Admission requirements

Completion of Core Course in Global Political Economy, or completion of other relevant MAIR core course.


The world economy, the economies it encompasses, and the welfare of world's people depend on a vast array of activities that, while conventionally viewed to lie outside of the sphere of economy, are in fact an essential aspect of it, without which the world economy and local economies could not function. It is increasingly evident that an analysis of global, national, and local economies that is absent these aspects is not only inadequate, but erroneous and often damaging to human wellbeing.

Proceeding from a perspective that insists the analysis of growth, trade, and geopolitical themes be accompanied by an analysis of welfare and inequality, this seminar explores and explains the evolution of arrangements governing social reproduction and social policy in the historical and contemporary context of the expanding world market. It is particularly concerned with appreciating the interdependence of production, social reproduction, and social policy in relation to the global and regional dynamics and effects of the world economy across time and place.

Engaging a diverse array of scholarship, the course trains attention on relational and institutional aspects of production and social production observed in various national and international settings. It studies the interplay between reproductive and productive work in relation to the ongoing reorganization of households, work, capital and the functioning of states. These relations are examined through the lens of gender, racism, and other markers and facilitators of inequality, discrimination, exclusion, and exploitation. Contemporary normative and policy debates around the relation of production, social reproduction, and global social policy are also considered.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will possess:

  • A critical understanding of social reproduction and global social policy.

  • Ideas and tools for relating these themes to their own research.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • Analyze contemporary debates on social reproduction and social policy.

  • Articulate well-reasoned positions on questions addressed in the course content.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment and weighing

  • Participation (20%)

  • Weekly written outputs (x10) (20%)

  • Mid-term exam (20%)

  • Final paper (40%)


  • Weekly written outputs (x10) (20%) A single resit will require 10 entries of 1000 words each. Weekly outputs (x10 as one document).

  • Mid-term exam (40%)

  • Final paper (40%)

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Reading materials will be available in the library. The following is an indicative reading list only.

  • Bhattacharya, T. (2017) Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression. Pluto Press

  • Cookson TP (2018) Unjust Conditions. Oakland: University of California Press.

  • Drinot P (2011) The Allure of Labor: Workers, Race, and the Making of the Peruvian State. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Esping-Andersen G (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity Press.

  • Esping-Andersen G (1999) Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

  • Federici, S. (2020). Beyond the periphery of the skin: Rethinking, remaking, and reclaiming the body in contemporary capitalism.

  • Federici, S. (2021). Caliban and the Witch: Women, the body and primitive accumulation. Penguin Books.

  • Ferguson, J. (2015). Give a man a fish: Reflections on the new politics of distribution. Duke University Press.

  • Fischer AM (2018) Poverty as ideology: Rescuing social justice from global development agendas. London: Zed.

  • Fraser, N., Honneth, A., Golb, J. D., Ingram, J., & Wilke, C. (2018). Redistribution or recognition?: A political-philosophical exchange.

  • Gentilini, U. et al. (2020) Exploring Universal Basic Income: A Guide to Navigating Concepts, Evidence, and Practices. Washington, D.C.Harris-White B (2010) Work and Wellbeing in Informal Economies: The Regulative Roles of Institutions of Identity and the State. World Development 38(2): 170–183.

  • London, Jonathan. (2018). Welfare and Inequality in Marketizing East Asia. Bakingstoke. Palgrave.

  • Mkandawire T (2005) Targeting and Universalism in Poverty Reduction. Social Policy and Development Programme Paper No. 23, December. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

  • Peck J and N Theodore (2015) Paying for Good Behaviour: Cash Transfer Policies in the Wild. In Roy A and Crane ES (eds) Territories of Poverty: Rethinking North and South. Athens, GA, and London: University of Georgia Press, pp. 103–25.

  • Huijsmans, R. (Ed.). (2016). Generationing Development: A Relational Approach to Children, Youth And Development. Springer.

  • Schild V (2007) Empowering 'Consumer-Citizens' or Governing Poor Female Subjects: The institutionalization of 'self-development' in the Chilean social policy field. Journal of Consumer Theory 7(2): 179-203.

  • Scott JC (1998) Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

  • Stevano, Sara and Mezzadri, Alessandra and Lombardozzi, Lorena and Bargawi, Hannah (2021) Hidden Abodes in Plain Sight: The Social Reproduction of Households and Labour in the COVID-19 pandemic. Feminist Economics, (27) 1/2, pp 271-287.

  • Wacquant L (2009) Punishing the poor: the neoliberal government of social insecurity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


Students in the MAIR specialization on political economy get first priority for enrolment in this course.