Welfare States in Crisis - SPY00035H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Kevin Farnsworth
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module summary

This module explores the origins of economic, political and social crises and their effects on the relationships between states, markets and citizens. Students will develop a critical appreciation of contemporary debates on the sustainability of welfare states, the theoretical frameworks used in the analysis of crises and their impact on social policy development.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

Welfare states grew out of crisis and have weathered various crises since the day they came into being. Just as capitalism transforms in response to crisis, so welfare states constantly face economic, political and social crises as society, technology and the economy mature. Most recently, the 2008 global financial crisis was without precedent in terms of its impact and its effect. The post-2008 period of economic and political crisis has repositioned many welfare states in unexpected ways in terms of their capacity to build and sustain progressive welfare systems and the kinds of reforms enacted. For social policy, ‘austerity’ and the economic, political and global developments since 2008 present a challenge to the future of welfare state development around the world. This module explores the idea of ‘crisis’ and the impact of various crises - economic, political and social - on the relationships between states, markets and citizens. Students will develop a critical appreciation of contemporary debate on the sustainability of welfare states, and the theoretical frameworks used in the analysis of economic crises and their impact on social policy development.

 

 

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module students will be able to:

  • Apply appropriate theoretical frameworks to the analysis of economic crises and their effects
  • Summarise and critically evaluate key contributions to the explanation of economic, political and social crises and their impact on social policy
  • Assess the role of different actors and organisations in the emergence and management of crises and welfare state reform
  • Identify and explain cross-national, international and global commonalities and divergence in the experience of, and social policy response to crises
  • Identify and assess a range of statistical and other evidence that informs debate on crises and possible policy responses

 

Module content

Indicative week-by-week schedule:

Week 2: Crisis the welfare state: historical context

Week 3: Governance and crisis

Week 4: The political economy of crisis 1

Week 5: The political economy of crisis 2

Week 6: Crises and welfare states: impact and responses 1

Week 7: Crises and welfare states: impact and responses 2

Week 8: The age of austerity and its global impact

Week 9: Contemporary challenges for welfare states

Week 10: Future crises?

 

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
1400 Word Critical Summaries
N/A 30
Essay/coursework
1500 Word Essay
N/A 70

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The change to assessment (approved by the BoS in 2015/16 and implemented in 2016/17) is a portfolio element worth 30% of the mark. Students will write short critical commentaries of the key readings linked to workshop topics in advance of the workshops. At least four critical commentaries are required for assessment, but students have the opportunity to submit and received feedback on six commentaries in total. These commentaries will be submitted online each week before the scheduled workshop and are assessed along with the essay (70%) at the end of the module.

The pedagogic reason behind this change was that this method of assessment ensures that students engage and reflect on the weekly readings which are then explored further in group discussion in class.

 

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
3500 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will normally receive formative feedback within one week of submitting each of their critical summaries. Students will normally receive summative feedback within four weeks of submitting their essay. Feedback will be via the Department’s standard marking matrix.

 

Indicative reading

Farnsworth, K. & Irving , Z. (eds) (2011) Social policy in challenging times: economic crisis and welfare systems. Bristol: The Policy Press

Farnsworth, K. & Irving , Z. (eds) (2015) Social policy in times of austerity: global economic crisis and the new politics of welfare. Bristol: The Policy Press

Hemerijck, A., Knapen, B. and van Doorn, E. (2009) Aftershocks, Economic Crisis and Institutional Choice, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press

Schäfer, A. and Streeck, W. and (2013) Politics in the age of austerity, 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.