Poverty & Inequality - SPY00036H

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

Module summary

This module focus on income poverty and income inequality in the UK and across nations, though with a primary focus on OECD (i.e. high-income) countries. The module will enable you to understand competing definitions of poverty and inequality, the impacts of poverty and inequality, and the various ways of measuring poverty and inequality including both historical and contemporary measures. You will gain hands on experience in how the decisions made in these respects impact upon headline figures in the UK and comparatively across nations and in exploring this data yourself in order to unpack the impacts of poverty and inequality.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

Preventing poverty, and the negative outcomes associated with it is a key purpose of the welfare state. Yet, how to define and measure poverty are hotly debated issues. Definitions of poverty matter. They determine whether individuals, households and particular groups have enough income or material goods to a level for them to live in a manner deemed fair and acceptable for the society in which they live. Moreover, the definition adopted determines appropriate policy responses to prevent and lift people out of poverty. Similar arguments apply to inequality, which has become increasingly central to contemporary debate. This module will enable you to understand competing definitions of poverty and inequality, the impacts of poverty and inequality, and the various ways of measuring poverty and inequality including both historical and contemporary measures. You will gain hands on experience in how the decisions made in these respects impact upon headline figures in the UK and comparatively across nations.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand how poverty and inequality are defined
  • Understand how poverty and inequality are measured, and the value of different measures
  • Understand the methodological issues in measuring
  • Understand the policy responses to difference measures.
  • Introduce students to some key data sets for exploring poverty and inequality

Module content

This module is broken into two parts: the first is traditional lecture and seminar format, where key debates are explored, while the second is centred around 'hands on' workshops where we explore poverty and inequality using key data sets.

Indicative session themes include:

  • Conceptualising Poverty & Inequality
  • Measuring Poverty & Inequality
  • Poverty: Impacts and Trends
  • Inequality: Impacts and Trends
  • Causes and perceptions of Poverty

Assessment

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

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

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

Module feedback

Students will normally receive feedback within four weeks of submitting their essay. Feedback will be via the Department's standard marking matrix.

Indicative reading

Alcock. P (2006) Understanding Poverty. London: Palgrave.

Ridge, T and Wright, S (Eds) (2008) Understanding Poverty, Inequality and Wealth. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Pickett, K. and Wilkinson, R. (2010) The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. London: Penguin.



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.