- Department: Social Policy and Social Work
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Aniela Wenham
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: H
- Academic year of delivery: 2020-21
This module explores past, present and future representations of welfare. After locating welfare reform in a historical context (the ‘golden age’ of welfare), students will explore the impacts of more recent welfare reform. This will include the effects of welfare reform on particular aspects of difference, i.e. the relationship between welfare reform and disability, as well as public attitudes to the impacts of austerity, i.e. the politics of foodbank use. With an understanding of past and present representations of welfare, students will then engage more meaningfully with what future welfare provision might look like. Questions surrounding how we can (re)imagine the welfare state and help foster counter-narratives of welfare provision in wider public debates will be focused upon.
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How has welfare provision and public attitudes to welfare changed over time? What are the consequences of recent benefit changes and how might we (re)imagine welfare for the future?
In this module, we will explore these questions as we discuss past,presentand future representations of welfare. After locating welfare reform in a historical context (through a critical engagement with ideas of a ‘golden age’ of welfare), students will explore the impacts of recent waves of welfare reform. This will include the effects of welfare reform on particular aspects of difference, i.e. the relationship between welfare reform and disability, as well as public attitudes to the impacts of austerity, i.e. the politics of foodbank use. It will further feature an exploration of the ways in which popular representations are mobilised and reinforced by politicians, and the particular role here for factual welfare television – commonly called ‘Poverty Porn’. Students will also have an opportunity to engage with what future welfare provision might look like. Here, there will be an opportunity to explore resistance to popular representations of welfare, and efforts to foster counter-narratives of welfare and to imagine different approaches.
Students will draw upon the rich historical context of York (poverty studies/Seebohm Rowntree) and then think about how this relates to contemporary consequences of welfare reform (i.e. potential visits to local foodbanks).
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
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There are two assessments to this module as outlined below:
Assessment One (30%) – the module will embrace creative and innovative methods to develop student’s engagement with core learning outcomes. Students will be required to undertake group presentations where they present a page from a zine they have created as part of the module. This will be accompanied by a 1000 word critical commentary of the key themes to emerge from the development of the zine. Zines are creative, Do-It-Yourself, publications, which might include stories, photographs, collages, artworks, drawings, bits of writing and documents.
Assessment Two (70%) - a written assignment of 3000 words. Assignment topics will encourage a multi-disciplinary engagement with welfare, and will draw upon insight from sociological theory, history as well as social policy.
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Students will receive summative feedback within four weeks of submitting their essay. Feedback will be via the Department’s marking matrix.