SPSW's role in the new International Development Network

Posted on 5 December 2016

Decent work: Self-employment and vulnerability

international development network zoe irving enrico reuter kevin caraher self mployment adn vulnerability reserach project

The University of York has created a new International Development Network, bringing together the foremost scholars in this field in the University to provide critical research on global injustices and, at the same time, help to find practical and participatory solutions to pressing problems, wherever possible.


SPSW is deeply involved in the creation of the Network with Dr Zoe Irving leading the Decent Work research theme and Dr Enrico Reuter and Dr Kevin Caraher undertaking a research project on ‘Self-employment and vulnerability: Transforming social protection systems’.

Decent work and Global Social Policy

Zoe Irving's role representing SPSW in the Network reflects the significance of social policy as a driver of global social progress, particularly in securing decent conditions of work and employment around the world. The wider role of social policy in securing human welfare, and the economic and political context in which it operates, are the focus of exploration in our MA in Global Social Policy which enables students to examine and independently research policy issues in a global context.

Supporting our global focus, next week on December 14th we will be welcoming Professor Philip Cerny, one of the foremost scholars of globalisation to the Department to give a talk on security in the contemporary global political economy.

Self-employment research

Self-employment, which is often low-paid and precarious, is on the rise in the UK and other OECD countries, whereas informal labour remains a common feature of developing and emerging economies. These insecure forms of employment can lead to individual vulnerability. They emerge from global capitalism but are also shaped and determined by social policy interventions. The new project by Kevin Caraher and Enrcio Reuter, both Lecturers for the Department’s online MA programmes in Public Policy and Management, seeks to analyse this interplay between economic conditions and social policy.


The Network’s objectives are well-aligned to the mission of our online MA programmes in Public Policy and Management, which attract many students from developing economies (to whom we offer a lower fee band). These programmes combine academic rigour with an applied focus, and allow practitioners in the field of public policy and public administration to gain skills and qualifications that will enable them to improve policy-making and public services and to hence contribute effectively to the solution of pressing social problems.


From 7-9th December 2016, Kevin Caraher and Enrico Reuter will attend an international conference on ‘Changing labour markets: Challenges for welfare and labour market policy’ at Linnaeus University in Växjö (Sweden). They will tweet from the three-day event, so do follow us on @spswonlineyork for updates. Further information can also be found on the blog, Wicked Issues, for the online MA programmes.