A Future for the Welfare State? Social Change, Challenge and Crisis - SA503

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Autumn and Spring 6 30 (15) MS T Sundberg checkmark-circle


Welfare states face many challenges in the contemporary world. This course takes a comparative approach by systematically analysing key fields to show how a variety of countries have identified and tackled problems of social policy. It starts with a consideration of theoretical frameworks but most of the course is directed at consideration of welfare issues in different countries and to specific topics such as globalisation, migration, population ageing, disability and austerity measures.


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

44 contact hours including lectures, seminars and workshops
256 hours of private study
300 total hours for the module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Essay 1: 2000 words ( 30%)
Class participation ( 20%)
Essay 2: 3500 words ( 50%)

Indicative reading

Castles, F. et al (eds. 2010). The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, Oxford University Press Cochrane, A., Clarke, J. and Gewirtz, S. (2002) Comparing Welfare States 2nd Edition Open University Press & Sage.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1999) Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gough, I., Wood, O, Barrientos, J. Bevan, J. & Davis, P. (2004) Insecurity and Welfare Regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Social Policy in Development contexts Cambridge University Press
Yeates, N. (2008) Understanding Global Social Policy, Bristol: the Policy Press.
Yeates, N. & Holden, C. (2009) (ed.) The Global Social Policy Reader, the Policy Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Be familiar with the major theories and conceptual approaches to the structure of welfare states
Have an understanding of the major challenges facing contemporary welfare states
Understand the value of comparative methods in general and the strengths and weaknesses of the main comparative frameworks
Be aware of the impact of globalisation and post-industrial shifts in the development of welfare states
Be able to apply the above to current social policy debates in the UK through analysis of particular areas of social provision.
Be aware of, and able to evaluate, the relevant social scientific literature and empirical evidence (including both quantitative and qualitative evidence) in the field (in particular, policy monitoring and evaluation)


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 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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