Comparative Social Policy - SOCI8720

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 7 20 (10) Jeremy Kendall checkmark-circle


On this course you will take a deep dive into the world of comparative social policy learning about key social policy issues at the core of national and international politics. You will learn about the theoretical frameworks that shape the field, illustrated by captivating examples from diverse national and regional perspectives. The module will equip you with analytical tools to analyse comparative social policy issues and equip you with an understanding of how welfare systems are tackling pressing issues that influence today's policy landscape, such as globalization, the intersection of labor markets with society, and the evolving dynamics between welfare systems, social structures, and economic trends.
The module is team-taught and covers:
· The main theoretical approaches in the field, using the examples of different national and regional approaches to social policy to illustrate them;
· Social policy as an international (including EU) concern;
· The role of non-governmental organisations alongside that of the state; and
· Various issues that cut across and have an important impact on contemporary policy-making priorities, possibilities and options, including globalisation, the interface of labour markets with society, and more generally the evolving relationship between welfare systems, social structures and economic phenomena.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 176
Total study hours: 200


MA in Methods of Social Research

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Book/review article of 500 words (20%)
Essay of 5,000 words (80%)

Reassessment methods

100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Anheier, H.K. (2005) Nonprofit Organisations: Theory, Management, Policy, Routledge.
Ascoli, U. and Ranci, C. (2003) Dilemmas of the Welfare Mix: The New Structure of
Welfare in an Era of Privatization, Plenum Publishers.
Cochrane, A.; Clarke, J.; Gewirtz, S. (2002) Comparing Welfare States 2nd Edition Open
University Press & Sage.
Cousins, M. (2005) European Welfare States, Sage.
Esping-Andersen, G. (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity
Evers, A. and Laville, J-L (eds) (2003) The Third Sector in Europe, Edward Elgar.
Hill, M. (2006) Social Policy in the Modern World, Blackwell Publishing
Kendall, J. (ed) (2008) Handbook of Third Sector Policy in Europe, Edward Elgar.
Powell, M. (ed) (2007) Understanding the Mixed Economy of Welfare, Policy Press.
Powell, W.W. and Steinberg, R. (2006) The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, 2nd
edition, Yale University Press.
Sainsbury, D. (1999) (ed.) Gender and Welfare State Regimes, Oxford: Oxford University
Taylor-Gooby, P. (2005) (ed.) New Risks, New Welfare Oxford University 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:

• Identify major trends in the development of collective provision in welfare in the world
• Understand and apply key concepts and theories of welfare and 'third sector' provision in studies of globalisation
• Understand the role of organised civil society in designing and implementing nationally organised and international institution-led social welfare policies
• Critically assess the various models and ideologies of welfare provision in a global world
• Analyse national welfare states within a comparative framework
• Understand the relationship of international actors (such as the EU, ILO, World Bank, etc) to national social policy systems
• Understand the evolution of organised civil society in the EU and beyond
• Identify common challenges that welfare systems face today in different regions of the world.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will have developed skills in:
• Communication, in terms of organising information in a clear and coherent way, responding to written sources and presenting information orally
• Application of theory and research evidence to understanding of key issues in welfare and globalisation
• Working with others by co-operating on seminars and expressing reasoned arguments orally
• Problem solving. Students will be able to identify and define problems and explore possible solutions individually and in groups
• Argumentation. They will develop logical arguments based upon sound reasoning and understanding of the material and express these arguments in a written format
• Desk-based research. Students will be able to gather library and web-based resources appropriate for postgraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and use the available evidence to construct a developed argument to be presented orally or in writing


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  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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