Social Realities in the Global South

The course explores social realities in the global South. It seeks to understand people's daily realities and lived experiences and the challenges involved.

5 ECTS Credits — Studies start 19 September 2019 — University of Helsinki

Photo credit: DFID, 2014, on Flickr
Photo credit: DFID, 2014, on Flickr

Course dates

19 September 2019 – 31 October 2019

Registration period

1 August 2019 – 6 September 2019

Coordinating university

University of Helsinki


Minna Hakkarainen



Course dates: 19.09.2019-31.10.2019
Registration dates: 01.08.2019 - 06.09.2019
Coordinating university: University of Helsinki
Responsible teacher: Minna Hakkarainen,
Credits: 5 ECTS

Course summary

The course explores social realities in the global South. It seeks to understand people's daily realities and lived experiences and the challenges involved.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand micro-level realities of people's life worlds and their linkages to wider socio-politico-economic processes in a given society in the Global South
  • Enhanced knowledge of key economical, socio-cultural and political dimensions that play a role in lived experiences of an individual and groups of people in the Global South
  • Ability to apply concepts of political subjectivity, intersectionality and postcolonial theory to the analysis of people’s everyday realities and life choices as manifested in academic and non-academic literature, including fiction.
  • Improved time-management and assessment skills

Learning methods

The course is divided into six themes (e.g. livelihoods; individual and the state; culture and society; conflicts and mobility). Each week the students are expected to actively engage with knowledge production on the week’s theme through group discussions or other written assignments. Students will also practice self and peer assessment during the course.

Study materials

Compulsory academic course literature includes the following books:

1) Auyero Javier and Débora Alejandra Swistun (2009). Flammable: Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2) Ferguson, James (2014). Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution. Durham: Duke University Press.
4) Murray Li, Tania (2014). In Land’s End. Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier. Durham: Duke University Press.


1) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun.

Students are expected to check availability of the compulsory course literature when accepted to the course and inform the teacher without delay should they have problems accessing the books. In addition, each week the course includes articles, book chapters and/or videos selected by the teacher (available in the Moodle).


The course has no final exam. Instead, the assessment is based on written assignments during the course and a final course essay showing the student’s ability to apply theoretical concepts and new academic knowledge obtained during the course to his/her analysis of Adichie’s novel. More detailed assessment criteria will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Additional information

The course is tightly scheduled on a weekly basis and thus requires good time-management skills. Late contributions to weekly discussions or late submissions of other written assignments won’t be accepted, unless late submission is due to illness, and verified by an appropriate medical certificate.

The course is offered by Development Studies at University of Helsinki (course code at UH: YK-232).

Virtual Studies Course Catalogue