This unit introduces students to the major theories that have impacted upon social policy and welfare provision in the last fifty years. It exposes students to a number of phases in recent history that mark discrete ideological and theoretical stages: the ‘golden age’, the ‘demise of the post war consensus’, Thatcherism, the ‘Third Way’ and so on. The unit will also introduce a number of critical perspectives, such as marxist, feminist, anti-racist, and post-modern, that have sought to challenge these dominant modes of thought.
This unit will seek to introduce students to the key concepts and issues in social policy. In the first part of the unit, a series of key concepts, such as need, equality, social justice, social exclusion, citizenship, and risk, will be addressed. The second part of the unit will serve to illustrate the utility of these concepts to the analysis of a number of contemporary issues. The unit will focus on current debates in a variety of areas of social policy: employment, health, pensions and so on.
This unit will provide an introduction to the history of British social welfare since the early nineteenth century. It will focus on key areas of social welfare and policy such as poverty and social exclusion, health, housing, education, employment, citizenship and immigration, and criminal justice. The unit will review continuities and changes in the policy and practice of welfare, explore the reasons for them and provide an assessment of their impact.
This unit will begin by considering the relevance of comparative, cross-national social policy analysis in a globalising world. It will also address key conceptual and methodological concerns, and consider various explanations for the development of welfare systems cross-nationally. The next section of the unit will focus on welfare systems in specific parts of the world: the USA and developing countries. These country specific sections will adopt a common framework and will: provide a general introduction to the social, political and economic contexts of the countries concerned; outline and examine the welfare systems; consider the nature of social division; and consider future policy challenges and possible responses.
In addition to these mandatory units, students are required to take two additional subjects from the list of additional subjects across the Faculty including Sociology, Childhood Studies, Anthropology, Psychology, Law, Geography and Politics or open units on other degree programmes such as Modern Languages, timetable permitting.
Students will become familiar with the scope and nature of social science research; the formulation and execution of research; research design and strategy; the range of qualitative and quantitative research methods; the circumstances of their use and misuse; and the practical and ethical considerations arising from these methods.
In addition, students select five optional units (20 credit points each) which are offered within three broad streams (refer to section below on optional units). Students must select at least one from each stream. All units are not necessarily offered in any one session.
This is a piece of research which students carry out independently with the support of a supervisor. Past topics have included:
In addition, students select four optional units (20 credit points each) which are offered within three broad streams (refer to section below on optional units). Students must select at least one from each stream. All units are not necessarily offered in any one session.
The unit will serve as an introduction to philosophical reasoning by examining different philosophical perspectives on welfare. Students will be encouraged to critically assess these different perspectives both as stand-alone arguments and in terms of implications for contemporary social policy. The core theme of the unit is that differing normative positions on welfare produce substantially different prescriptions for social policy.
The unit introduces students to a range of concepts and substantive areas that have become increasingly relevant within the context of understanding the current and future welfare settlement. It begins with a consideration of the broader social, political and economic conditions through which social policy has begun the difficult process of transformation. The concepts of postmodernism, postfordism and poststructuralism are elaborated so as to set the scene for more substantive issues linked to risk, reflexivity, gender and identity/consumption.
This unit provides students with an overview of social scientific analysis of the policy process, drawing primarily on the policy studies literature. The students will be introduced to a range of theoretical perspectives on policy making, and given a sense of how thinking has developed over time. The unit will also explore recent debates at a political level about ‘modernizing’ policy making, and it will seek to evaluate current thinking by placing it the context of the academic literature on how policy is made.
The unit provides a critical introduction to the key economic ideas that are applied to the analysis of social policy. Students will be introduced to the ways in which economic thinking can be used to examine key policy areas, and also to the changes in the nature of public provision, management and finance in the UK and explore how such changes can be related to economic ideas. The unit also examines the relationship between theory and policy.
This unit explores social policy issues and life course experiences (such as childhood, disability and old age) and discusses them within the changing profile of population and household structure over the past two centuries.
This unit explores measures of health in an international context and the limitations of such measures, including global patterns in life expectancy, mortality and morbidity, and key factors involved in the distribution of health. The focus is on differences between and within countries using various demographic and socio-economic measures. The unit then examines relationships between health and policy, focusing on formal and informal health systems, the role of social, economic and political influences on health policy, and the impact of globalisation and global restructuring on health policy. We look aspects of global health governance and the impact of transnational companies on health. The unit concludes with an examination of the policy options for reducing inequalities in global health.
The unit introduces students to the potential and limitations of social research involving more than one country. It will explore the methodological challenges and theoretical perspectives associated with cross-national analysis, and will investigate the meanings applied to the concept of globalisation and the processes that have contributed to this phenomenon. This unit will extend students knowledge of the implications of these processes for social policy, particularly in the context of the changing role of the nation state and the emergence of supranational governance.
This course develops students understanding of the study of social policy in cross-national perspective, focusing particularly on the countries of East Asia. The unit begins with an investigation of the global economy, its relationship with East Asia and its potential impact on the social, economic and cultural development of the countries in the region. The emphasis will then turn to specific areas of social policy including housing and urban development; health provision; citizenship, immigration and ethnicity; and social care. Social policy initiatives will be considered through a variety of theoretical perspectives.
The unit will develop students’ understanding of institutions and policy processes within the European Union. It will outline the development of the ‘European Social Model’ and consider the role of the EU itself in social policy. The unit will examine general theoretical issues, such as globalisation and welfare-state regimes and consider the tensions and nature of relations between the European Union and member states. Key issues to be explored include poverty, citizenship, migration, asylum, human rights and integration policies, as well as the implications of enlargement for the development of social policy.
The central aim of this unit is to demonstrate that comparative studies involve international systems, and not exclusively nation states. Starting with an analysis of theories of ‘development’, we will critique explanations propounded for uneven development between and within societies. The relationships between the so-called ‘developing’ and ‘developed worlds’ are illustrated by examining the role of different types of international institutions and organisations, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and some of the United Nations Organisations.
This unit will cover the history and current development of UK migration policies, in the context of European Union integration and policy development. It will explore conceptual and methodological problems in understanding and analysing international migration. The focus will be on local, national and European migration patterns and trends. Core themes will be labour migration, the feminisation of migration flows, asylum seeking, the securitisation of migration debates, human trafficking and the social construction of migration as crime.
This Unit provides a focus on the range of provisions that make up personal social services and the social values that underlie social policies in this sphere. Key concepts considered include need, risk, care and dependency. Students will be introduced to analyses of trends and developments in personal social welfare, with particular attention to the development of the mixed economy of service provision and the implications of such changes for different groups of service users. Key themes in this unit include the planning, financing, organisation and management of personal social welfare, the roles of professionals and other practitioners and the accessibility and effectiveness of services in promoting well-being.
This unit examines and challenges traditional notions of the ‘family’ and the ways in which social policies construct and reinforce specific family forms. It aims to explore policy implications of interventions by the ‘state’ into the familial and domestic arenas and to consider the gendered nature of these interventions.
This unit introduces students to theoretical interpretations of the urban process; the political structure of cities and urban problems. In addition, it facilitates an understanding of the application of theoretical and policy approaches to current urban problems both nationally and internationally.
This unit is about the role of illicit drugs/drug users and social policy. By the end of the unit you will be able to identify: the significance of those factors used to socially construct illicit drugs/drug users; theoretical approaches used to make sense of these socially constructed categories; the relationship between illicit drugs/drug users and social policy.
This unit examines crime and crime control in modern society. The first part explores the social and political definitions of crime, the origins of criminal law and provides a comparison of the harm done by crime and other activities. The second part examines the production and impact of criminological theory on criminal justice policy and social policy more widely. The final part considers the relationship between crime and criminalisation and poverty, class, ‘race’ and gender.
The aim of this unit is to provide a comprehensive and critical analysis of past and present penal policies. Throughout the unit the insights of sociological, historical and critical theory will be used to further our understandings of contemporary penal practice in the UK as well as in other countries.
This unit focuses primarily on contemporary British policy relating to social security, exploring both recent changes in direction and theoretical perspectives relating to income maintenance policy and explanations of poverty.
The unit explores two, inter-linked, aspects of health: firstly, the distribution of health amongst the population, and secondly the relationship between health and health care provision. Differences in health and the experience of health care in terms of diversity within the British population are explored.
This unit is particularly designed to examine the development of practical responses to, and analysis and theorisation about, violence against women by way of an overview of debates since the 1970s within a wider historical perspective, and including attention to a spectrum of law and policy issues.
In addition, a range of other choices will be available from other programmes in the School for Policy Studies.