Social Policy and Social Control - SAPO3000

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Ellie Lee checkmark-circle


The module aims to develop the understanding of the policy making process and the role of the different actors within the wider context of the tools and limits of the ability of the UK national government to influence behaviour. It has a particular focus on processes of social control as they relate to social policy. Learning will be centred around two main tasks:
i. Understanding the links between social policy and the regulation of behaviour e.g. the uses and outcomes of incentives, sanctions and educative communication to promote behavioural changes sought by policy makers.
ii. Taking topical examples of policy issues, contextualised analysis of the policy making process, its 'stages', key actors and institutions will be used to explore how and why particular policy options emerge and evolve. A central concern will be to help students understand the nature of support and opposition for particular policy proposals and the implications for developing alternative policies.


Contact hours

21 contact hours consisting of lectures, workshops and seminars
129 hours of private study
150 total hours for this module


Core module for all Social Policy single and joint honours courses, for the Health and Social Care, and the Law and Welfare course. Available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Essay 1: 1500 words (40%)
Essay 2: 2000 words (60%)

Reassessment methods
Reassessment will be via a reassessment essay question for both essays.

Indicative reading

Alcock et al. (2016) The Student's Companion to Social Policy. Oxford: Wiley & Blackwell.
Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the Nudge Unit: How small changes can make a big difference. London: WH Allen
Hudson, J. (2009) Understanding the Policy Process: Analysing Welfare Policy and Practice. Bristol: Policy Press.
John, P. (2012) Analyzing Public Policy. London: Routledge
King, A., & Crewe, I. (2013). The blunders of our governments. Oneworld.
Wincup, E. (2013) Understanding Crime and Social Policy. Bristol: 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 Understand the underlying rationale for social policies, including their interconnections with processes of social control
8.2 Understand the key stages of the policy making process
8.3 Demonstrate an ability to identify the key actors related to a given policy question
8.4 Articulate and apply the principles of the different ways of affecting behavioural change in relation to social policy and social control
8.5 Critically evaluate the solutions to social problems
8.6 Have an understanding of the role of (quantitative) evidence in policy making

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
9.1 Demonstrate critical thinking skills by analysing and contextualising policy intentions
9.2 Demonstrate study skills by being able to locate and evaluate different sources of information
9.3 Demonstrate communication skills, verbal and written.


  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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