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SOCI1015 Human Rights, Wellbeing and Politics

Module Overview

Meeting and solving social problems and protecting people against risks to their welfare may be something that all societies and systems sets out to do, but often they do not just solve problems in different way they also tend to have different problems. This course aims to look at countries’ responses to the social problems and risks from a citizenship/human rights perspective. It adopts an inherently international approach, reflecting the fact that social problems have nowadays not only a local or national relevance, but also need to be examined from a global scale. The module will embrace a wide and inclusive understanding of welfare in a way that will engage and challenge the students’ thinking. It will use topical case studies from a range of settings to deliver on its theoretical and conceptual learning outcomes.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The overall aim of the module is to add a political understanding of welfare and social rights from both a global and national perspective. We will discuss welfare and social rights from different perspective such human rights, social citizenship, welfare regimes and risk management. The students will learn about the basic theories and use them to analyse a social problem of their choice in a essay. The course will be structured in four parts: theoretical background, enabling rights, opportunity rights and compensatory rights. The structure of the course therefore reflects Marshall’s theory of citizenship.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Students should be able to discuss the core concepts associated with the analysis of welfare, citizenship and social rights.
  • Students should be able to assess the main arguments for and against different models of social rights and welfare provision.
  • Students should be able to identify the main institutions and actors involved in the delivery of social rights and mitigating social risks.
  • Students should be able to analyse social problems using a key theoretical framework/core concept covered in the course.


Introduction and basic concepts 1 - Introduction - Where is our shelter from the storm? 2 - Rights, duties and beyond (Social citizenship) 3 - From moral economy to the welfare state (Social risk) 4 - Gender, Identities and Human rights 5 - From formal to informal welfare (Welfare regimes and Ideologies) Enabling rights 6 - A right to health? 7 - Post code lottery (Social determinants of health inequalities) 8 - United Nation, World Bank, and Global health 9 - Shkreli, Wu-Tang Clan and Aids (Social Justice/Capitalism) 10 - Conditional cash transfers (Selectivism) Opportunity rights 11 - Bullingdon club: meritocracy and equality of opportunity 12 - An opportunity society? Social mobility in the UK and elsewhere 13 - What would a fair education system look like? 14 - Sponsor a Child (Basic education) 15 - Micro credits (Non-governmental organizations) Redistributive and compensatory rights 16 - Benefit streets and the welfare state 17 - Job Centre Plus (Employment) 18 - Welfare chauvinism (Nationalism) 19 - Identity and welfare End 20 - Conclusion and revision

Special Features


Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course will consist of 20 lectures and 3 x 2 hours participative workshops. Learning will occur through reading, analysis, and discussion of key literature. Students will be expected to prepare thoroughly for each workshop by completing the set readings and undertaking independent research that will lead to the essay. All students will be encouraged and enabled to contribute verbally to group discussions and debate. Students will receive either detailed written or oral feedback upon the assessment for this module.

Wider reading or practice62
Completion of assessment task62
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Spicker, P. (2014). Social Policy: Theory and Practice. 

Dean, H. (2012). Social Policy. 

Marshall, T. H. (1992). Citizenship and Social Class. 

Hoxsey, D. (2011). Debating the Ghost of Marshall: A Critique of Citizenship. Citizenship Studies. ,15 , pp. 915– 932.

Evers, Adalbert/ Guillemard, Anne-Marie (ed.) (2012). Social Policy and Citizenship – The Changing Landscape. 

Marshall, T. H. (1981). The Right to Welfare. 

Ben Revi (2014). T.H. Marshall and his critics: reappraising ‘social citizenship’ in the twenty-first century. Citizenship Studies. ,18 , pp. 3-4, 452-464.



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 30%
Final Exam  ( hours) 70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (3 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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