The Politics of Social Policy - SAPO3120

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Eleanor Jupp checkmark-circle


This module introduces students to the politics of social policy. Students will explore the role of politicians, pressure groups, the media and public opinion in shaping responses to social problems, and the party-political and ideological approaches to policy-making. Students will explore the tensions between welfare and the economy and the main tensions between individualism and collectivism in the political environment of the contemporary welfare state. Students will be introduced to the role of politics in social policy making to understand the different value positions political parties hold. Students will examine these issues through reference to different policy sectors, such as employment, social security, health, housing, and education.


Contact hours

This module is taught through lectures, seminars, and private study
Total Hours: 150
Contact hours: 22
Private study: 128 hours


BSc Social Sciences, including Pathways, Year in Placement and Year Abroad; BA Criminal Justice and Criminology, including Year in Placement and Year Abroad

Method of assessment

Main assessment
Coursework – policy analysis assignment (2000 words) – 50%
Coursework – essay 92000 words) – 50%

Reassessment method
100% coursework

Indicative reading

Alcock P & May M (2014) (4th Ed) Social Policy in Britain. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
Baldock. J, Mitton L & Manning N & Vickerstaff S.(eds) (2011) (4th Ed) Social Policy. Oxford, Oxford University Press
Dean. H (2012) Social Policy (2ndEd). Cambridge, Polity
Dorling. D (2015) Inequality and the 1%. Verso
Hill Collins. P (2016) Intersectionality. Cambridge, Polity
Jessop. B (2015) The State: Past, Present, Future. Cambridge, Polity
Sealey. C (2015) Social Policy Simplified: Connecting Theory with People's Lives. Basingstoke, Palgrave.

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Understand the way society defines and constructs social problems
8.2 Evaluate a range of current social problems
8.3 Compare, contrast and evaluate different ideological and party political approaches to solving social problems, and to evaluate the role of political ideologies in directing & shaping social policy
8.4 Understand the processes by which 'private troubles' become 'social problems'
8.5 Analyse policies and policy documents, applying knowledge of the legislative processes of government

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Use analytical techniques to assess the causes and consequences of problems
9.2 Communicate information and analysis using relevant IT packages
9.3 Analyse and interpret different types of data
9.4 Debate, discuss and examine possible solutions to problems
9.5 Debate and discuss various policy options and reach balanced conclusions on the basis of the evidence


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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