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Semester 1

Comparative Social Policy: Global Perspectives (SCPL08014)


Social Policy





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Visiting students should have passed at least 1 introductory level Social Policy course at grade B or above for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses. This course cannot be taken alongside European Social Policy (SCPL08006).

Course Summary

The course provides students with the analytical tools to make sense of similarities and differences across welfare states, focussing - among others - on the socio-economic outcomes associated with different welfare states, the reasons for distinctive social policy structures across countries, and the relation between public, private and informal sectors in the provision of social policy. It illustrates these similarities and differences by introducing in detail selected national models of welfare states drawing on examples from Europe, North America and East Asia. It reviews the role of international organisations in shaping social policy in the Global North and in the Global South. It discusses crises and opportunities for renewal that affect contemporary welfare states.

Course Description

This course has four parts: firstly, it sets the scene by introducing a series of analytical categories and dimensions that can be employed to examine social policy in comparative perspective; secondly, it illustrates similarities and differences in the social policies of high-income countries by reviewing in detail selected national models of welfare state; thirdly, it moves from the national to the supranational level by examining the role of selected supranational institutions in shaping social policies in the Global North and the Global South (e.g. European Union; World Bank; ILO); fourthly, it reviews some key challenges that welfare states are currently faced with and the opportunities for renewal that these challenges may offer. The course is team taught, with different staff members in Social Policy teaching on their areas of expertise. Weekly tutorials complement the lectures to discuss topics and key concepts on the basis of core readings. Tutorial readings are supplemented with an extensive reading list in the course handbook to aid self-guided learning and the preparation of assignments.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 60%, Coursework 40%, Practical Exam 0%

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