Poverty, Inequality and Social Security - SOCI5750

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module focuses on poverty and inequality and how such social security policies impact upon them. Students will analyse the nature, extent and causes of poverty and inequality, with reference to the UK. The module will make students aware of current issues in welfare reform as it relates to groups vulnerable to poverty including: people who are unemployed; people who are sick or disabled; older people; children; lone parents; people from Black or minority ethnic groups. The module also shows how social security policies encompass different principles of need, rights and entitlement for users of welfare services.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128
Total Study Hours: 150


Optional module for Social Policy, Health and Social Care and other SSPSSR bachelor degree programmes at the Canterbury campus.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Assignment 1 (essay 2500 words) 50%
• Assignment 2 (short answer assignment) 50%

Reassessment methods

100% Coursework

Indicative reading

Alcock, P. (2006). Understanding Poverty. 3rd edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Ridge, T and Wright, S eds (2008) Understanding Inequality, Poverty and Wealth: Policies and Prospects. Bristol: Policy Press
Spicker, P (2011) How Social Security Works. 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 Demonstrate understanding of competing perspectives on poverty, inequality and welfare rights and how these are reflected in social
security policies;
8.2 Demonstrate some knowledge of the historical development of social security;
8.3 Demonstrate knowledge of social security policy concerns in several substantive areas;
8.4 Demonstrate an awareness of social security policy as it relates to key groups vulnerable to poverty;
8.5 Demonstrate understanding of the potential and limitations of social security in maintaining income security;
8.6 Apply this knowledge to analyse and evaluate critically the potential for and constraints on future reform of social security.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Demonstrate an ability to make oral arguments (through participation in seminars);
9.2 Demonstrate an ability to write in a clear and coherent manner (through essay writing);
9.3 Demonstrate an ability to analyse and interpret numerical data; progression in ability to integrate numerical and non-numerical information
(through data presented in lectures and seminars);
9.4 Demonstrate an ability to produce written documents (through essay writing and note-taking);
9.5 Demonstrate an ability to work co-operatively on group tasks (through tasks in seminars).
9.6 Explore personal strengths and weaknesses (through reflection on essay feedback);
9.7 Demonstrate an ability to identify and define problems; explore optimal and alternative solutions (though application of theory and
research evidence to understanding of social policy).


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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