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Contemporary Issues in Social and Public Policy - SPY00033C

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Luke Telford
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

Societies, policy makers and public services currently face a multitude of challenges, including social inequalities and divisions, the climate emergency, the transformation of work and care and the funding of welfare states. Social and public policies have a key role in responding to these challenges but the question of where responsibility lies, and which policy tools are appropriate and effective in tackling social problems is more complex. This module draws on key theories and debates in social and public policy in order to develop your understanding of contemporary challenges and their possible resolution. You will be introduced to key conceptual, theoretical and methodological components of the major debates in social and public policy, and will engage with key questions and thinkers while exploring the social and political context in which they emerge. The module content will equip you with the analytical tools necessary to interrogate social and public policy challenges, and to discuss and critically assess their relevance to society.

Aims

  • To introduce key conceptual, theoretical and methodological dimensions of contemporary social and public policy debates

  • To familiarise students with a range of current social and public policy challenges within their social, political and economic context

  • To examine the purpose and patterns of provision of public services

  • To explore the role of the state, the market and people as policy actors and the ways in which ideas and interests shape social and public issues and policy responses

  • To examine a range of evidence sources relevant to and applicable in the field of social and public policy

  • To equip students with the foundational conceptual and analytical skills necessary to apply knowledge to real world problems and to critically evaluate contemporary issues in social and public policy

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate key conceptual, theoretical and methodological dimensions of social and public policy debates and locate these debates in their social, political and economic context

  • Demonstrate awareness of the operation of key policy actors, and the ways in which ideas and interests shape issues in social and public policy

  • Demonstrate understanding of the purpose of public services and key principles of funding and delivery

  • Offer informed critique using a range of perspectives and evidence sources relevant to the acquisition and sharing of knowledge in the field of social and public policy

  • Apply knowledge and theory drawn from the social sciences to address real world challenges in social and public policy

  • Apply conceptual and analytical thinking skills to critically evaluate contemporary issues in social and public policy

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Blogs
N/A 40
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Online exam
N/A 60

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

  • Alcock, P., Haux, T., McCall, V. and May, M. (Eds) (2022) The Student’s Companion to Social Policy. Sixth Edition, Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Dean, H. (2019) Social Policy. Cambridge, Polity

  • Fraser, N. (2022) Cannibal Capitalism, How Our System Is Devouring Democracy, Care, and the Planet—and What We Can Do About It, London, Verso

  • Pierson, C. (2021) The Next Welfare State?: UK Welfare after Covid-19, Bristol, Bristol University Press

  • Powell, M (2019). Understanding the mixed economy of welfare. Bristol: Policy Press.

  • Williams, F. (2021) Social Policy, A critical and intersectional analysis, Cambridge, Polity



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.