Comparative Social Policy - SO872

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) DR J Kendall







The approach of the course, like its subject matter, is inter-disciplinary, drawing on sociology, political economy and policy studies.

It covers:

- The value of a comparative approach to social policy and some of the problems in carrying it out
- The main theoretical approaches
- The way welfare states have been categorised
- Welfare in the less-developed world
- Migration and the welfare state
- EU and the Europeanization of social policy
- Globalisation and the welfare state
- Likely future developments in social welfare

The course will equip you to understand the ways in which scholars have approached the subject of the welfare state and also convey knowledge on some of the major issues in welfare.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

The module will be composed of 12 lecture hours and 12 seminar hours.



Method of assessment

1. 5,000 word essay, worth 80% of the final grade.

2. 500 word book/article review of one reading for one seminar with a handout for peers in the seminar.(worth 20% of the final grade)

Indicative reading

Key Bibliographical Resources

Castles, F. et al. (2010) The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State is the most important book for the course. It does need to be supplemented with other material as indicated for each session. Students are also encouraged to use the internet for further sources – although always with caution and discrimination. A list of helpful internet sites is given after the book-list.


Alcock, P. & Graig, G. (2009) (2nd Edition) International Social Policy. Welfare Regimes in the Developed World, Palgrave Macmillan
Alcock et al. (2008) (ed) The Student’s Companion to social policy, Blackwell Publishing
Andersen, J. G., Clasen, J., Oorshot, W. and Halvorsen, K. 2002. Europe’s New State of Welfare. Unemployment, Employment Policies and Citizenship. Bristol: Policy Press
Castles, F. et al. (2004) The Future of the Welfare State. Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities Oxford: Oxford University Press

Castles, F. et al (eds. 2010). The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State, Oxford University Press
Clasen, J. (1999) Comparative Social Policy: Concepts, Theories and Methods Oxford: Blackwell

Clasen, J. 2005 Reforming European Welfare States: Germany and the UK Compared. Oxford University Press (E-book, access remotely via Templeman.)
Clarke, J. 2004. Changing Welfare, Changing States. London: Sage.
Cochrane, A, Clarke, J.; Gewirtz, S. (2002) Comparing Welfare States 2nd Edition ,Open University Press & Sage,

Connell, J. (2007) (ed) The International Migration of Health Workers, Routledge

Cousins, M. (2005) European Welfare States, London: Sage.

Deacon, B (2007) Global Social Policy and Governance, London, Sage.

Deakin, N. (2001) In search of civil society, Palgrave, Basingstoke

Edwards (2004) Civil society, Polity Press, Cambridge

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Esping-Andersen, G. (1999) Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Esping-Andersen, G. (2002) (ed) Why We need a welfare state?, Oxford University Press, available online at:

Esping-Andersen (2009) The Incomplete Revolution. Adapting to Women’s New Roles, Polity Press
Farnsworth, K. and Irving, Z. (2011) Social policy in challenging times: Economic crisis and welfare systems, Policy Press, Bristol

Fink, J., Lewis, G. and Clarke, J. 2001. Rethinking European Welfare. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Fitzpatrick (2005) New Theories of Welfare. Palgrave
Fives, A. (2007) Political and Philosophical Debates in Welfare, Palgrave, MacMillan
Giddens, A. (2005) Europe in the Global Age, Polity Press, Cambridge.

Goodin, R. E. et al. 1999. The Real Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gough, I., Wood, B., Bevan and Davis (2004) Insecurity and Welfare Regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Social Policy in Development contexts Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Greenwood (2007) Interest representation in the European Union, Palgrave, Basingstoke
Hall, P. & Soskice, D. (2001) (ed) Varieties of Capitalism. The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage, OUP (E-book, access remotely via Templeman)
Haggard, S and Kaufman, R. (2008) Development, Democracy and Welfare States, Princeton University Press, ills, J. (2005) Inequality and the State, Oxford University Press
Hill, M. (2006) Social Policy in the Modern World, Blackwell Publishing

Immergut, E., Anderson, K and Schulze, E (eds. 2009) Handbook of West European Pensions Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Kleinman (2002) A European welfare state? European Union social policy in context, Palgrave.

Kvist, J. and Saari (2007) The Europeanisation of Social Protection, Bristol, The Policy Press

Lavalette, M. & Pratt, A. (2006) (2nd edition) Social Policy. Theories, Concepts and I

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion, students will be able to:
- Identify major trends in the development of collective provision in welfare across the world
- Understand and apply key concepts and theories of welfare and ‘third sector’ provision
- Critically assess the various models and ideologies of welfare provision in the world
- Analyse national welfare states within a comparative framework
- Understand how the issues of globalisation and migration are relevant to studying the welfare state.
- Understand the impact of the European Union and other International agencies on national welfare states
- Identify common challenges that developed and developing welfare systems face today

These subject specific learning outcomes contribute to the wider programme learning outcomes, in particular to enable students to:
- Critically reflect upon key themes, verbal discussion and the written analysis of relevant social and political issues through an understanding of social science perspectives.
- Apply general theoretical and conceptual frameworks to the analysis of specific issues and problems affecting welfare states on an international scale.
- Develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement

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