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Unit information: Comparative Political Economy and Social Policy in 2020/21

Unit name Comparative Political Economy and Social Policy
Unit code SPOL20044
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Oscar Berglund
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

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

Description

This unit will develop students understanding of the changing context of social policy, particularly in relation to an increasingly globalised and transnational world It seeks to highlight the relationship between global processes and national contexts and highlight the role of local specificity (politics, culture, institutions, socio-economic profiles for example) in shaping types of provision, policy-making and implementation across different societies and in a world that is increasingly interconnected. It will consider the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches to understanding the development of welfare systems across societies, explore the relevance of cross-national comparative research in a global age, and critically assess the variety of approaches adopted for conducting such research.

The unit will also explore the argument that that changes in society have contributed to a shift from `old’ social risks to ‘new’ social risks and that social solidarity has been undermined. This has contributed to the transformation of the welfare state to a Social Investment State that is re-shaping social welfare and creating new tensions. This unit will critically assess the emergence of the `social investment’ welfare state and the role of international organisations and national governments in supporting or challenging this model. The unit will also explore a range of policy issues, including cities and housing, poverty and inequality, and work and employment, in an international comparative context. Thus this unit will extend student’s knowledge of the dynamics and role of institutions, emerging narratives and social transformations at different spatial scales, and their implications for welfare systems in different societies. It will also highlight a range of social policy issues and explore how they manifest and are understood in different societies.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be:

  • Familiar with the multi-dimensional features of globalization and their implications for social policy;
  • Able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of carrying out cross-national analysis;
  • Aware of the dynamics of multi-level governance and the policy making process
  • Able to critically assess the relationship between processes of globalization and uneven development.

Teaching details

This unit will draw on a blended learning approach. Students will engage with asynchronous taught content (including, for example, narrated slides and other teaching and research materials) and will be tasked to complete activities in preparation for synchronous sessions to present and discuss ideas and clarify learning.

Assessment Details

Part 1: Annotated bibliography (1000 words) (25%)

Part 2: Encyclopedia of Comparative Political Economy and Social Policy entry (2000 words) (75%)

Reading and References

  • KENNETT, P (2001) COMPARATIVE SOCIAL POLICY: THEORY AND RESEARCH: OPEN UNIVERSITY PRESS.
  • HELD, D. & A. MCGREW (EDS) (2000) THE GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION READER: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE GLOBALIZATION DEBATE: POLITY PRESS.
  • KENNETT, P. (2013) 2nd edn. A HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE SOCIAL POLICY. EDWARD ELGAR
  • SURRENDER, R. AND Walker, R. (2013) SOCIAL POLICY IN A DEVELOPING WORLD: EDWARD ELGAR.
  • HANTRAIS, L. (2009) INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE RESEARCH. THEORY METHODS AND PRACTICE: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN
  • MAU, S. AND VERWIEKE, R. (2010) EUROPEAN SOCIEITES. MAPPING STRUCTURES AND CHANGE: THE POLICY PRESS.

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