Economic, Social & Cultural Human Rights: controversies, claims, contestation POLITIC4167

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course considers the continuing and growing importance of economic, social, and cultural human rights within an age of neoliberalism and austerity. It examines what these rights are, their international and domestic status, and how they play out in activism and daily life in a variety of contexts.


Typically, the course would be a 1 hr lecture + 2 x 1 hr seminars

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





The summative assessment is split into 3 parts; an essay proposal/plan (10%); an annotated bibliography of 10 articles (40%) and a final essay of 2500 words that counts for 50% of the overall mark. These are discrete pieces of work, but that link together to enable feedforward and the incremental deepening of learning - of content and of academic skills e.g. critical reading and evaluation - across the course as a whole.

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No


Course Aims

The International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (1966) comprises a core part of international human rights. While all human rights are said to be indivisible, economic, social and cultural rights have occupied a contested position - framed as second generation, positive rights, as aspirational. In an age of neoliberalism and austerity, ESC rights continue to be a site of significant contestation. This course considers what ESC human rights are, what their status is internationally and domestically, how appeals to ESC rights are framed in different contexts, and how ESC rights claims play out in activism, protest and daily life in a variety of cases (places, spaces and issues).

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ Outline Economic, social and cultural human rights;

■ Explain the main controversies within ESC human rights;

■ Evaluate claims made of ESC human rights in a variety of settings;

■ Have enhanced their critical reading and evaluation skills

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.