A Future for the Welfare State? Social Change, Challenge and Crisis - SAPO5030

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Trude 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.


Contact hours

44 contact hours
256 hours of private study
300 total hours for the module


The module is compulsory on the BA (Hons) Social Policy (and Social Change) course, and is one of a prescribed secondary list of modules from which BA (Hons) Health and Social Care students are required to supplement their compulsory modules. It is also an option on the wider SSPSSR courses and is available as an elective module more widely.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Coursework - Essay 1: (2000 words) - 40%
Coursework - Essay 2: (3500 words) - 60%

Students will be required to pass both assessments to pass the module overall.

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

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

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the major theories and conceptual approaches to the structure of welfare states.
8.2 Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the major challenges facing contemporary welfare states.
8.3 Articulate the value of comparative methods in general and the strengths and weaknesses of the main comparative frameworks.
8.4 Critically assess the impact of globalisation and post-industrial shifts in the development of welfare states.
8.5 Apply their knowledge to current social policy debates in the UK through analysis of particular areas of social provision.
8.6 Critically evaluate relevant social scientific literature and empirical evidence (including both quantitative and qualitative evidence) in the field (in particular, policy monitoring and evaluation).

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Present/debate complex issues, ideas and materials
9.2 Utilise research and statistical data
9.3 Synthesise knowledge across a range of disciplinary fields within the social sciences
9.4 Engage in self-assessment and working towards the goal of individualised learning and improvement


  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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