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 2021 to 2022
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Heejung Chung 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 including lectures, seminars and workshops
256 hours of private study
300 total hours for the module


Autumn (term 1) and Spring (term 2) terms

Method of assessment

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

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 are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Be familiar with the major theories and conceptual approaches to the structure of welfare states
2.Have an understanding of the major challenges facing contemporary welfare states
3.Understand the value of comparative methods in general and the strengths and weaknesses of the main comparative frameworks
4.Be aware of the impact of globalisation and post-industrial shifts in the development of welfare states
5.Be able to apply the above to current social policy debates in the UK through analysis of particular areas of social provision.
6.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)

The intended generic learning outcomes are as follows. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1.Presentation and debate, verbal and written
2.Utilisation of research and statistical data
3.Synthesising knowledge across a range of disciplinary fields within the social sciences
4.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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