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Unit information: Social Policy and The Lifecourse in 2014/15

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Unit name Social Policy and The Lifecourse
Unit code SPOL22031
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Izuhara
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Understanding the concept of the life course and its application in social policy analysis is central to the unit. The unit reviews recent demographic trends nationally and internationally, which provides a sound basis for the analysis and understanding of the structure of the population. the social policy implications of demographic trends such as low fertility and ageing societies are then analysed by setting the UK experiences in a wider global comparative context.

This Unit aims to enable students to:

  • Develop a well-rounded understanding of the concept of the life course and its application to social policy
  • Review key demographic trends nationally and internationally and their links with contemporary theoretical and policy debates
  • Understand the transitional aspects of peoples life course for planning and delivery of social welfare
  • Understand the changing relationships between generations and also between the state and families
  • Use UK experiences as a sounding board to examine global issues.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will have:

  • Critically analysed contemporary issues related to demographic trends nationally and internationally
  • An understanding of the concept of the life course and its application in the social policy context
  • An awareness of the importance of the life course transitions in selected policy discourses and in the planning of social welfare services
  • Collected, analysed and interpreted secondary data and literature on demography and the life course.

Teaching details

Twelve, one hour lectures followed by one hour class

Assessment Details

  • Formative: 2,500 word essay
  • Summative: 3,000 word essay

All assessment will be against the assessment criteria for level I work, as in the Social Policy Programme Handbook.

Reading and References

  • Hunt, S. (2005) The life course: a sociological introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Green, L. (2010) Understanding the life course: Sociological and psychological perspectives, Cambridge: Polity
  • Anxo, D., Bosch, G. and Rubery, J. (eds) (2010) The welfare state and the life transitions: A European perspective, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
  • Grenier, A. (2012) Transitions and the life course, Bristol: The Policy Press
  • Beer, A. and Faulkner, D. with C. Paris and T. Clower (2011) Housing transitions through the life course: Aspirations, needs and policy, Bristol: The Policy Press
  • James, A. and James, J. (2004) Constructing childhood: Theory, policy and social practice, London: Palgrave Macmillan