Major Human Rights, Gender and Conflict Studies: Social Justice Perspectives

Master in Development Studies

When power starts to shift dramatically, advancing social justice can prove a contradictory process. Justice, peace and equal rights may be promised, whilst simultaneously injustices, violence and exclusions continue to shape people’s daily lives.

The Social Justice Major offers critical reflections on issues relating to gender, human rights, conflict and social mobilization, which are all key to social justice. The Major goes beyond the normative, often oppositional conceptualizations of social justice which frequently take a simplified focus on either economic inequalities, or identities, or symbolic representations. Instead, the Major examines the processes through which diverse inequalities, exclusions and asymmetries persist and are reproduced in societies. We do this by criticizing the dichotomous representation of the global and local, personal and political, individual and structural. We also examine universalist and cultural-relativist perspectives on social justice, as well as perspectives that depart entirely from such binary understandings.

Target audience

The Major offers a broad range of analytical and practical skills to young and mid-career professionals and aspiring academics interested and engaged in human rights, women and gender and in peace work, whether in government, research or civil society organizations.