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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Social inequality and social protection (PGSP11258)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryHow can we conceptualise the inequalities of social class, generation, race, disability and gender? How are such inequalities bought about through processes across the life course, from cradle to grave? This course aims to make the student familiar with the social structure and the institutional contexts across life courses and the corresponding social and public policies. The course focuses on policies that are used to support human development and family formation, childhood and educational trajectories, vocational training, labour market entry, occupational careers and income trajectories, retirement and ageing. The course takes the UK as its focus, although students are also encouraged to take a comparative perspective.
Course description Week 1
Introduction: Defining inequality, thinking about the life course & social protection

Week 2-Social stratification, social class and social mobility

Week 3-Environmental inequalities - A sustainability perspective

Week 4 -Health inequalities - A life course perspective

Part 2: Working with policy makers to improve social protection across the lifecourse

Week 5 -Conceptual and measurement issues in comparing inequality cross-nationally

Week 6
****NO SEMINAR ¿ Innovative Learning Week ***
Week 7-An introduction to policy impact evaluation

Part 3: Social protection across the life-course

Week 8-Child poverty

Week 9-Youth transitions

Week 10-Gender inequalities, employment and care

Week 11-The changing mix of public and private provision: Older people, pensions
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. To become familiar with the terms used in debates around inequalities of social class, generation and gender
  2. To be able to articulate the use of various forms of social protection as applied across the life course
  3. To be able to develop a framework and set of criteria for assessing and evaluating social policy provision; and to strengthen skills in policy analysis and policy making
  4. To demonstrate a critical understanding of the implication of social policies for the distribution and quality of social and economic security as achieved by different groups in society
  5. To gain an understanding of various forms of measurement of inequality and how these impact on policy formulation and evaluation
Reading List
Baldock, J., Mitton, L., Manning, N. and Vickerstaff, S. (2011), Social Policy, 4th edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Byrne, D. (2005), Social Exclusion, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Crompton, R. (2008), Class and Stratification, 3rd edn, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Dorling, D. (2010), Injustice: why social inequality persists, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (2011), ¿Inequality, Poverty, and Wealth¿, Chapter 18 in Sociology, 4th edn, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Giddens, A. And Diamond, P. (eds) (2005), The New Egalitarianism, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Glennerster, H. (2009), Understanding the Finance of Welfare, 2nd edn, Bristol: The Policy Press.

Graham, H. (2007), : Health and Socioeconomic Inequalities, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Grusky, D. B. and Syelenyi, S. (eds) (2006), Inequality: Classic Readings in Race, Class and Gender, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Grusky, D. B. and Syelenyi, S. (eds) (2011), The Inequality Reader: Contemporary and Foundational Readings in Race, Class, and Gender, 2nd edn, Boulder: Westview Press.

Hills, J. and Stewart, K. (eds) (2005), A More Equal Society? New Labour, Poverty, Inequality and Exclusion (CASE Studies on Poverty, Place & Policy), Bristol: Policy Press.

Hills, J., Sefton, T. and Stewart, K. (eds) (2009), Towards a More Equal Society? Poverty, Inequality and Policy since 1997. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Lister, R. (2004), Poverty, Cambridge: Polity Press. Especially chapter 3.

Millar, J. (2009), Understanding Social Security: Issues for Policy and Practice, 2nd edn, Bristol: The Policy Press.

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

Example Key Journals
American Sociological Review
Benefits: The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice
Economic and Labour Market Review -
European Sociological Review
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
Journal of European Social Policy
Journal of Social Policy

Useful Links
Pathways ¿ A magazine on poverty, inequality, and social policy

The Poverty Alliance

The Poverty Site

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex
Have a look at their Working Paper Series

Joseph Rowntree Foundation

UK Government Equalities office

UK Government Equality strategy

UK Government (previous administration¿s) National Equality Panel

Minimum Income Standards

Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics ¿ interactive maps on key topics by postcode sector in Scotland.

OECD Ministerial meeting on Social Policy - Building a fairer future: the role of Social Policy,3407,en_21571361_47089446_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

Links to interesting reports
Social Policy Association¿s ¿In Defence of Welfare¿

Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries -

Doing better for families OECD (2011),3343,en_2649_37419_47654961_1_1_1_37419,00.html

¿How to Talk About Redistribution: An Historical Perspective¿, by Ben Jackson

The IFS publishes an annual analysis of the latest poverty and inequality data (for the 2007 publication see

The Commission on Social Determinants of Health, chaired by Professor Sir Michael Marmot published its final report in August 2008
Copies of the report summary and full report are be available from the
following WHO website:

The Scottish Government Early Years Framework

Poverty and income inequality in Scotland

Poverty and Ethnicity in Scotland

Macpherson, S. and Bond, S. (2009), Equality Issues in Scotland: a review of research, 2000-8, Research report 29, Edinburgh: Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Valeria Skafida
Tel: (0131 6)51 3215
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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