The University of Southampton
Courses

SOCI3002 Comparing Welfare States - Evolution, Politics & Impact

Module Overview

In the first part of the module we will explore why all industrialised countries developed programmes to reduce social risks. We will then examine how and why this development was different in different countries. Finally we will discuss some of the main challenges to welfare states today, such as globalisation, a transformation of women’s lives and changing family structures, ageing societies and the growth of the service economy. Geographically, the module will focus on Europe, but Asia and the USA will also play a role.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

In this module you will gain an understanding of how different welfare states help to form and maintain the social order. You will get to know the main academic debates about the forces leading to the emergence, expansion and current changes of welfare states.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the welfare state and social policy as different concepts
  • You will have further developed your analytic skills through critical engagement with different theoretical and empirical approaches
  • Knowledge and understanding of different theoretical approaches explaining the dynamics of welfare state development and social policies
  • Knowledge and understanding of the features of the main types of welfare states in the West
  • Knowledge and understanding of how these types influence the distribution of life chances and wealth in societies
  • Knowledge and understanding of the main socio-economic changes currently taking place in western societies and be able to assess their implications for social policies
  • You will be better able to evaluate the appropriateness of different methods in social research
  • You will have broadened your understanding of comparative methods as a tool for knowledge creation
  • Have improved your ability to critically probe concepts and arguments

Syllabus

In the first part of the unit we will explore why all industrialised countries developed programmes to reduce social risks, specifically after 1945. This exploration will include developing countries, such as China, Korea or Brazil. We will then examine how and why this development was different in different countries, focusing on the role of the economy, democracy, institutions and culture. Finally we will discuss some of the main challenges to welfare states today, such as globalisation, changing family structures and the growth of the service economy

Special Features

There will be interactive features in most lectures

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module is taught by means of a twice-weekly lecture and a fortnightly seminar. As part of an interactive approach to teaching students will be asked to interpret images and short video sequences, shown to illustrate the relevance of specific theoretical approaches. - be invited to participate in role plays to illustrate labour market mechanism and public spending trends - do brain storms -Recapitulating questions about the previous lecture will be asked at the start of each new one.

TypeHours
Independent Study121
Teaching29
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Pierson, Christopher (2006). Beyond the Welfare State? The New Political Economy of Welfare. 

Pierson, Christopher; Castles, Francis G. (eds.) (2006). The Welfare State Reader. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

All teaching and assessment methods are designed with the above learning outcomes in mind, so that for students the steps are transparent that need to be taken to achieve them.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 25%
Exam  ( hours) 75%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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