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Global Social Problems - SPY00071H

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Zoe Irving
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Semester 1 2022-23

Module aims

Resolving global social problems presents a daunting prospect given their scale and complexity but understanding their origins, and the processes that generate and shape them is a first step towards designing responses and reaching policy solutions. Studying on this module you will explore the nature of global social problems, considering what makes them a ‘problem’, what makes them ‘global’, and how global social policies interact with national strategies to meet human needs. Thinking about how, when and why problems and policies are constructed in the global context, you will apply your knowledge to the critical examination of core elements of human welfare and consider the possibilities for resolving unmet human needs.

  • Explore the global character of social problems challenging contemporary societies and the processes which shape them

  • Critically examine international and global policy responses to contemporary social problems

  • Consider the relationship between global social and economic divisions and inequalities and vulnerabilities to the risks posed by social problems

  • Examine key dimensions of human need and reflect on the ways in which meeting these are understood and framed in the global North and South

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of the global character of a range of contemporary social problems

  • Appreciate and offer informed and critical commentary on the social, political and economic processes underlying the globalisation of social problems.

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of national, international and global policy debates and policy developments in relation to a range of global social problems, and their evolution over time.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the institutions and actors responsible for addressing global social problems, and the relationships between them.

  • Understand the importance of analysing global social problems and policy responses with reference to wider geo-political, economic and social divisions.

  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the module content to the detailed examination and critical assessment of a global social policy issue.



Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Where a student fails the module overall they will be reassessed in the component/s in which the fail mark is awarded



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

  • Artaraz, K. and Hill, M. (2016) Global Social Policy, London: Palgrave

  • Deacon, B. (2007) Global Social Policy and Governance, London: Sage

  • George, V. and Page, R. (2004) Global Social Problems Cambridge: Polity

  • Gough, I. (2017) Heat, Greed and Human Need, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

  • Hill, M. and Irving, Z. (2020) Exploring the World of Social Policy: An International Approach, Bristol: Policy Press

  • Mkandawire, T. (2004) Social Policy in a Development Context, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

  • Surender, R. and Walker, R. (eds) (2013) Social Policy in a Developing World, Cheltenham. Edward Elgar

  • Yeates, N. and Holden, C. (eds) (2022) Understanding Global Social Policy, 3rd Edition, Bristol: Policy Press

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.