Social Justice and in/Equality in Global Societies: Understanding, Origins and Future Challenges

ISA Seville Study Center

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Social Justice and in/Equality in Global Societies: Understanding, Origins and Future Challenges

  • Host University

    ISA Seville Study Center

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    USF Course Code: SYO 4536

    Prerequisite: none; taught in English.
    Students: ISA students 
    Contact hours: 45

    I. Course description: 
    The global world and present day societies are marked by a paradox: productive forces, wealth and development have reached heights that could not even have been imagined a century ago; and, at the same time, the world is characterized by a multiplication of forms of inequality. This course will analyze different forms of inequality inherent to globalization, through a comparison of the different forms of justice proposed by European and US thinkers such as J. Rawls, M. Foucault, or I. Berlin. In addition, students will discuss new politics at the regional and international level, analysing how inequalities are being addressed by the international community, national governments, civil society, and other state holders (business, trade unions, etc). 

    II. Learning objectives: 
     1. Understand the issues that may arise in organizational settings requiring a social justice analysis and advocacy approach (e.g., racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, xenophobia).   
     2. Analyze past and current theory and practice on social justice and social work from a multidisciplinary and cross-sectional perspective.  
    3. Critical analyse and contrast and develop historical data of oppression in the USA and Spain in connection to access to public welfare services.   
    4. Assess systemic and entrenched barriers and challenges, leadership and community-building issues involved in social justice and the role of social services workers in mitigating/furthering them.   
    5. Demonstrate an understanding of the issues related to the development of the professional engaging in the field of social justice advocacy and action in civil society and community organisations, including personal and broader societal accounts and experiences. All this will be included in the personal reflections during the experience abroad and the optional practicum.  

    III. Course contents (order of content may be modified):
    Unit 1. Introduction to (in)equalities in the global world.
    Modernity and the birth of “equality” as a moral principle. 
    The transformation of the meaning of equality in the 20th century.
    In/Equality in the globalized world.

    Unit 2. Political and social in/equality.
    The concept of person and the concept of freedom.
    Social solidarity and the welfare state.
    The multiple forms of political exclusion.

    Unit 3. Social in/equality and classism.
    Social exclusion and marginalization: Definition and measurement of poverty.
    The notion of social citizenship. Social insertion and integration.
    Globalization and the crisis of the welfare state.

    Unit 4. Ethnic and racial inequality.
    Identity, race and ethnicity.
    From racism to racialization.
    Migrations in the global era and structural racism.

    Unit 5. Sex-gender and sexuality inequality.
    The critique of androcentrism: social sex, gender, sex-gender system.
    The social construction of love and sexuality.
    New theories on gender and sexuality.

    Unit 6. The intersectionality of inequalities, the cross-cutting nature of responses.
    Civil society, social movements and activism against inequality. Bricolage in organisations.
    New policy proposals.
    Challenges in the 21st Century.

    Please note that the course will give special importance to the experiential learning component. 
    A visit to the Bioalverde project (or an alternative visit) will be announce during the first week of the course. Bioalverde is a company of social insertion (80% of the staff hired are people coming from situations of social exclusion: poverty, long-term unemployed, irregular migratory situation, functional diversity, diseases, drug addiction) dedicated to organic farming and sustainable distribution (local consumption / “consumption km. 0”). The project was promoted by Caritas (a Catholic social organization) but operates autonomously as a private company. Bioalverde's success over the last 5 years has demonstrated that a socially inserted company can be profitable and self-sustainable, and promote positive values in different areas of production, distribution and consumption. The students will visit the facilities and talk with the project manager, Mr. Fernando Rodriguez Agudo, to learn about a positive initiative that shows an alternative for corporate engagement and positive ESG impact. 
    Other similar activities, to learn about the reality and activity of social organizations, will be carried out during the course, taking into account the current social situation and the possibilities of participation.

    IV. Bibliography: 
    Compiled by lecturer and online resources. Readings will be assigned weekly from excerpts of relevant books and papers, such as the following examples:

    J. Rawls ([1971]1999). “The duty to comply with an unjust law”. In “A Theory of Justice”, (pp. 350-362). The Belknap Pres.

    I. Berlin ([1969]2002). “Two Concepts of Liberty”. In “Four Essays on Liberty”. Oxford University Press. 
    M. Foucault (2009). “The emergence of new notions: case, risk, danger, and crisis.”. In “Security, Territory, Population. Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-78”. Picador/Palgrave Macmillan.
    A. Davis (1983). “Racism, Birth Control and Reproductive Rights”. In “Women, Race and Class”. Vintage.
    Wacquant, L. (2012). Three steps to a historical anthropology of actually existing neoliberalism. Social Anthropology, 20(1), 66–79. /or/ Wacquant, L. (2014). Marginality, ethnicity and penality in the neo-liberal city: an analytic cartography. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 37(10), 1687–1711. 
    S. Sassen (2002). Women's Burden: Counter-geographies of Globalization and the Feminization of Survival. Nordic Journal of International Law 71(2):255-274

    V.I. How to succeed in this course? 
    Everyone participates in this course. Participation and meaningful interaction with the professor and peers is as essential to the course as writing the assigned paper and taking the quizzes. It’s not possible to be a full member of the course without participating in class. Throughout the course, the students will be invited to share their views based on the readings and lectures. Their comments matter as we can all learn from what students have to offer to the discussion. 
    Should you feel anxious at the thought of class participation, please let the professor know privately during the first week of the course. 

    Keeping the tasks of the subject up-to-date is key to assimilating the contents, something that cannot be achieved if only the study time is concentrated before the quizzes. 

    VI. Grading scale:

    La calificación final del curso utilizará la siguiente escala/ Final grades will be calculated according to the following scale:
    94 - 100 A
    90-93 A -
    87 -89 B +
    84 - 86 B
    80 - 83 B -
    77 - 79 C+
    74 - 76 C 
    70 - 73 C-
    67 -69 D+
    64 -66 D
    60 -63 D-
    0-59 F

    VII. Course Policies

    VII.I. Attendance: 
    Class attendance is mandatory and is taken every class day and it is reflected in the course attendance sheet.
    An 85% attendance rate is required for the successful completion of the course. Perfect attendance will be taken positively into account in the participation section. 
    If a student exceeds this limit, 1 point will be taken off of the final grade (Spanish grade). Reaching a 20% of unexcused absences means that the transcript for this subject will show “not attended course”. 
    Excused absences: Medical Certificates that will be considered only if issued by a physician (not notes from the family explaining the student’s absence). The certificates must include the exact dates for which a student should be excused for having missed classes. Courses cannot be audited, so attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class. 
    Punctuality: Students are expected to arrive on time to class and to return directly to class after class breaks. Arriving 10 minutes late (or more) and/or early class departures are considered unexcused absences and will be taken into account as half an absence. 

    Attending class is not only the presence in the classroom. The professor will encourage active participation in the course and it will be taken into account as part of the evaluation.  

    Auditors: Courses cannot be taken as auditors, thus attendance is possible only for students enrolled in a specific class.

    VII.II. Conduct in class.
    Students who actively participate in classroom activities and who maintain a professional and respectful attitude will be evaluated positively. Students must not eat or use laptops during the class (unless specifically authorized by the teacher).  

    VII.III. Late work. 
    One half point will be taken off (from the learning activities grade) for homework that is submitted late repeatedly. Late assignments will be corrected but will not be graded. 
    Missing a class does not release the student from completing the homework assigned or studying the topics covered in class that day. 

    VII.IV. Make-up exams:
    If a student cannot be present for an examination for a valid reason (see V.II.) and approved by the teacher and academic direction, a make-up exam will be given. 

    VII.V. Quizzes retention:
    After quizzes are graded, the professor will review the examination with the class and collect all exams. The quizzes will be retained for one semester following the current one, and then they will be destroyed. 

    VII.VI. Academic Honesty:
    Students are expected to act in accordance with their university standards of conduct concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty. 

    VII.VII. Special accommodations: 
    Students with special needs who require reasonable accommodations, special assistance or specific aid in this course (either for properly making-up classes, taking exams, etc.) should direct their request to Academic Coordination during the first days of the course in the case that they did not report it when submitting the Health Form. 

    Teaching staff is required to report any disclosures harassment or violence of any kind. 

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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