• Class Number 1504
  • Term Code 3420
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Sharon Bessell
    • Prof Sharon Bessell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 01/02/2024
  • Class End Date 22/03/2024
  • Census Date 16/02/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/02/2024
SELT Survey Results

Social policy has long been shaped by the global flow of ideas, as ideologies and models have been exchanged between countries; exported by colonial powers to their colonies; or imposed by external donors in the name of reconstruction or development.  Yet, social policy is often understood as the policies, processes and services provided by governments, without sufficient consideration of the global context.


This course examines social policy in the global context of the twenty first century.  We will analyse the impact of ideas, models and approaches developed within the international arena on social policy within nations.  We will also explore the ways in which approaches to social policy are transferred and shared between countries.  We examine key international trends in social policy and the values on which they are based – as well as key critiques of and opposition to those trends.  This course will include some comparative analysis of the influence and response to globalised ideas, models and approaches across different countries.


Global Social Policy moves away from the traditional silos of ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries, whereby social policy is considered the domain of the former and development the domain of the latter.  Rather, we will examine key approaches to social policy, evidence on ‘what works’, and major debates and controversies across the constructs of the ‘Global North’ and the ‘Global South.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the ways in which the global flow of ideas has shaped and continues to shape social policy within and across nations
  2. Understand the governance structures for, and effectiveness of, global social policy-making
  3. Understand the (sometimes competing) agendas and roles of major global actors in the area of social policy
  4. Be able to analyse key ideas and objectives that underpin the social policy models advocated by key international agencies

Research-Led Teaching

My own research revolves around issues of social justice, equality, and human rights. My research focuses on three broad areas. First, social policy for children who are living in difficult circumstances; I am currently leading two projects on multidimensional child poverty - one in Australia and one in Indonesia. The second area of focus is the gendered and generational nature of multidimensional poverty. The third is childhoods across generations. You can find out more about that research at http://childrenspolicycentre.org/ or http://sharonbessell.com

Over the past thirteen years, I have led research on new approaches to assessing and responding to multidimensional poverty. You can find out more about our work at immp.crawford.anu.edu.au. The third area of focus is gender equality, and particularly women's political participation.

A great deal of my research focuses on the ways in which domestic policy, international frameworks (particularly around human rights and social policy), and global debates/campaigns/ideas intersect. Much of my research has focused on the influence of international human rights treaties (particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This course focuses on the role that international organisations and actors have in shaping social policy, and the ways in which ideas travel. It is also shaped by my own research on the role of international ideas and frameworks in shaping policies for individuals and social groups considered to be marginalised or disadvantaged (often due to structural barriers or systems failures).

Field Trips

Sadly, we have no field trips!

Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment

There is no specific material or equipment required, expect a laptop or computer. If you are in the online class, your computer will need to have a microphone. You will need internet access, as some of our class activities use online platforms. Please contact Professor Bessell if you have any concerns.

Required Resources

Recorded lectures

Pre-recorded lectures for each topic discussed are on our Wattle site. This is an intensive course, and you may not have time to listen to every lecture - but the more you listen to the lectures, the more you will be able to engage in class discussions and the more you will gain from the course. The lectures are provided as resources - you are expected to listen to at least one lecture for each topic and advised to listen to all lectures for topics that you are interested in (and certainly listen to all lectures for any topics on which you plan to use for your assessment tasks). There is information on the Wattle site to help you decide which lectures you are most interested in and to help you prioritise your listening.


There is no text book for Global Social Policy, but key readings will be available on our Wattle site.

Most topics have several readings - and our Wattle site will make clear which are expected and which are optional. It is not compulsory that you read every article - but the more you read, the more you will gain from the course. Ideally, you should go beyond the readings provided - particularly for your assessment tasks - and explore the literature more broadly. Of course, if you do not do any reading, you will not gain maximum benefit from the class.

Videos and podcasts

There is an enormous range of excellent videos and podcasts available on the topics we will be discussing. Some of the most powerful or interesting are posted on our Wattle site as additional resources that you may wish to use. These may be especially helpful for your assessment tasks.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Thursday 1 February 2024Rights and Global Social PolicyIn our first session together we will initially discuss what we mean by key concepts of social policy, globalisation, and global social policy.We will then focus on the place of human rights within thinking about global social policy, exploring the origin of human rights and debates. From this basis, we will explore some of the big debates that underpin thinking about social policy globally, including the role and responsibilities of key actors to advance human rights.We will then turn our attention to the ways in which key global actors have used ideas of human rights and how human rights have shaped key instruments of global social policy, including the Sustainable Development Goals.We will also explore the ways in which ideas about human rights have 'travelled' globally.
2 Friday 2 February 2024Regulation and Global Social PolicyIn this session, we examine efforts to provide global regulation to advance global social policy aims. We will explore the role of international labour standards, and other attempts at global regulation, such as social protection floors, and assess how successful they have been in providing global regulation.
3 Monday 5 FebruaryGlobal Redistribution The redistribution of income or wealth is central to social policy, but usually occurs within (and by) national states through taxation and transfers. We will assess the extent to which redistribution can (and does) occur globally - focusing on arguments around global taxation, the role of development assistance, and migration and foreign remittances. We also look at the rise of philanthropy and philanthrocapitalists, asking if this is an effective means of redistribution. We examine the theories that seek to explain how and why policies move across national boarders, focusing on the factors (and actors) that facilitate policy transfer, learning, and exchange and the actors that seek to shape agendas.
4 Friday 9 FebruaryResistance to Global Social Policy IdeasSo far in the course, we have focused on the three Rs identified by Bob Deacon as central to global social policy: rights, regulation and redistribution.In this session, we will add a fourth R to our discussions: resistance. We will initially look at the contestation for ideas that occurs among key global actors. We will then examine the ways in which some actors are pushing back on the idea of universal human rights, global regulation and redistribution - and the implications for global social policy. We will ask whether 'deglobalisation' is a phenomenon that will impact social policy globally.
5 Thursday 15 FebruaryGlobal Social Policy ConferenceThe GSP Conference is the highlight of our course and central to peer-learning and the sharing of ideas. More information will be available on our class Wattle site.The GSP Conference is scheduled to run over two days, but the length will depend on class numbers.
6 Friday 16 FebruaryGlobal Social Policy ConferenceDay 2 of our GSP Conference
7 Friday 23 FebruaryThe Future of Global Social PolicyIn our last session together, we will recap on our discussions over the course - and what we learned from the GSP Conference. We will also discuss why some policies become the 'darlings' of global social policy actors, and how they travel globally. We will consider what the future of global social policy might be, and will discuss how important global ideas around social policy are in a COVID/post-COVID world.

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Three short quizzes 15 % * * 1, 2, 3
Conference Presentation (Group Task) 15 % * * 1, 3, 4
Conference reflection (Individual Task) 15 % 22/02/2024 08/03/2024 1, 2, 4, 5
Analysis Paper (Individual Task) 55 % 11/03/2024 08/04/2024 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Participation in all classes is expected. As this is an intensive course, so it is difficult to catch up on missed classes. Attendance at and participation in the Global Social Policy conference is required for course completion.


There are no examinations for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Three short quizzes

The quizzes will take place on days 2, 3, and 4 of the course (2, 5 and 9 February) and will cover the material that we discuss on day 1 (rights), day 2 (regulation) and day 3 (redistribution). The quizzes are short online assessments (they will take a maximum of 15 minutes each), designed to reinforce your understanding key concepts that underpin the course.


Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4

Conference Presentation (Group Task)

Your GSP presentation is a group task and you will have up to 20 minutes. Groups will be formed on the first day of class, and you will need to work together outside class. 

The presentation will focus on a policy or approach adopted by one key global social policy actor. You will have a list to choose from, or can choose your own,

You need to provide an abstract of 100 words by Monday 12 February. The abstract will appear in the conference program, and is a course requirement.


Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 22/02/2024
Return of Assessment: 08/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5

Conference reflection (Individual Task)

After the conference, you are asked to provide a 800-word reflection on three other presentations. While this is a reflection on what you have learned from three presentations, you do need to draw on the relevant literature to support your reflections and how the presentations reinforced, challenged or perhaps even conflicted with your understanding of key concepts discussed in class and in the literature.


Assessment Task 4

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 11/03/2024
Return of Assessment: 08/04/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Analysis Paper (Individual Task)

In your analysis paper, you should analyse how rights, regulation, redistribution, and/or resistance has played out in regard to one issue in the area of global social policy. A list of issues you may want to consider will be on our Wattle site, and please talk with Professor Bessell if you have other ideas for the issue you would like to focus on.

In your analysis paper, you need to provide an overview of the issue, what position key global actors have taken with regard to rights, regulation, redistribution and/or resistance (noting you do not have to analyse all four, but may focus on one, two or three of the Rs - depending on your issue), what the debates have been, and how the issue has influenced global policy within one country or region. The word limit is 2,500 words, excluding references.


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Prof Sharon Bessell
02 6125 6562

Research Interests

Sharon’s research interests revolve around issues of social justice and human rights, focusing on three broad areas: (i) the first is social policy, social justice and the human rights of children; (ii) childhoods over time and intergenerational relations; and (iii) the gendered and generational dimensions of poverty.

Prof Sharon Bessell

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof Sharon Bessell

Research Interests

Prof Sharon Bessell

By Appointment
By Appointment

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