In this module we will first 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
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- 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
- Knowledge and understanding of the welfare state and social policy as different concepts
- 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 learned where and how to find relevant comparative statistics of the welfare state and how to analyse them
- You will have further developed your analytical 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
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 religious beliefs. 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
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.
- to download and interpret relevant comparative data about labour market and public spending trends
- to do brain storms
- to answer recapitulating questions about the previous lecture at the start of each new one.
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Pierson, Christopher; Castles, Francis G.; Naumann, I. (eds.) (2014). The Welfare State Reader. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Pierson, Christopher (2007). Beyond the Welfare State? The New Political Economy of Welfare. The Pennsylvania State University Press.
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.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External