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Sustainable Development & Social Inclusion - SPY00017H

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Carolyn Snell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2018-19

Module aims

Social policy has long-established concerns with arrangements to improve welfare through the meeting of need. The fulfillment of human needs for water, food, domestic energy, housing, transport and leisure is ultimately dependent on environmental resources. The use of these resources, either for consumption or for the disposal of waste, inevitably has an impact on the environment. As the state of the environment changes in response to human activity, problems arise that cause concern to people who value the environment in its own right. But even those who see the environment purely as a resource for human use must surely recognize the need to protect that resource, both to sustain future patterns of use and because of the deleterious effects that a degraded environment can have on human health and well-being, on poverty and livelihoods. Ultimately, environmental change influences the extent to which future human needs can be met.

The concept of sustainable development is complex and highly contested. In this module we examine some of its interpretations and explore some of the crucial questions these raise for social policy. An understanding of the linkages between social and environmental problems is essential if the social policy goal of equitable access to resources and services for meeting needs is to be achieved. The module demonstrates how other principles of sustainable development, such as democracy and local participation in policy processes, and the need for more policy integration and planning are remarkably similar on both the social inclusion and sustainable development agendas. Tensions often arise between social and environmental interests so it is essential that policy developments in the two spheres should not take place in isolation. Study of these issues raises questions about equity and responsibility that lie at the heart of social policy.

Module learning outcomes

This module will introduce you to a broad range of issues relevant to the study of social policy and the environment.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

In addition to informal feedback you receive when talking to tutors in seminars or through the discussion space, you will receive the following types of feedback for your assessments in this module:

You will receive written prompt feedback using a Marking Matrix within four weeks. You can discuss your feedback with your personal supervisor or module tutor during their Office Hours (listed within the SPSW Staff Office Hours space on Yorkshare).

Indicative reading

The following texts are essential reading for this module:

Baker, S. (2006) Sustainable Development Oxon: Routledge

Cahill, M. (2001) The Environment and Social Policy, London: Routledge

Fitzpatrick, T. (2011) Understanding the Environment and Social Policy, Bristol: Policy Press

Fitzpatrick, T. (2014) International handbook on social policy and the environment Cheltenham : Edward Elgar

Huby, M. (1998) Social policy and the environment, Buckingham [England]; Philadelphia: Open University Press.

Lister, R. (2004) Poverty Cambridge : Polity

Other key texts:

Babones, S. J (ed) (2009) Social Inequality and Public Health Bristol, Policy Press.

Cahill, M. and Fitzpatrick, T. (eds) (2002) Environmental Issues and Social Welfare Oxford: Blackwell.

Carter, N. (2007) The politics of the environment: ideas, activism, policy 2nd edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chasek, P. S. Downie, D. L. and Brown, J. W. (2006) Global Environmental Politics 4th edition. Colorado, Westview Press (the 5th edition is also available in the library)

Dorling, D. and Thomas, B. (2011) Bankrupt Britain: an atlas of social change Bristol, Policy Press

Dresner, S. (2002) The Principles of Sustainability, London: Earthscan.

Dryzek, J. and Schlosberg, D. (eds) (2005) Debating the Earth Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fitzpatrick, T. and Cahill, M. (eds) (2002) Environment and Welfare: Towards a Green Social Policy Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Henderson, P. (2005) Including the excluded: from practice to policy in European community development Bristol: Policy Press

Hinchcliffe, S., Blowers, A. and Freeland, J. (2003) Understanding Environmental Issues, Chichester: Wiley.

Hills, J., and Stewart, K. (2005) A More Equal Society? New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion Bristol: Policy Press

Purvis, M. and Grainger, A. (eds) (2004) Exploring Sustainable Development: geographical perspectives London: Earthscan.

Levitas, R. (2005) The Inclusive Society? Social exclusion and New Labour, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Marden, S. and Gough, I. (2011) Fiscal costs of climate mitigation programmes in the UK : a challenge for social policy? Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion.

Lupton, R., Hills, J., Kitty, S. and Vizard, P. (2013) Labours social policy record: policy, spending and outcomes 1997-2010 Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion

Shaw, M. (2008) The Grim Reapers Road Map : An Atlas of Mortality in Britain Bristol , Policy Press Snell, C and Haq, G. (2014) The short guide to environmental policy Bristol : The Policy Press 2014

World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Our Common Future, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Worldwatch Institute (2005) State of the World 2005: a Worldwatch Institute Report on progress towards a sustainable society, London: Earthscan.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.