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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Postgraduate Course: Global and International Social Policy (SCPL11021)

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
SummaryTraditionally nation states were perceived to be the pre-eminent actors shaping social policy and the distribution of resources and life-chances. Increasingly however international organisations have become important actors in the generation, championing and dissemination of policy żbest practiceż and the prescribing of social policy reforms for high and middle income countries. In the former many mature welfare states are under pressure to reform services to fit with more austere socio-economic times. In the latter the rapid economic growth experienced by countries such as India, China and Brazil has created new demands and opportunities to create innovative social protection and welfare services.

This course provides an critical introduction to the theories, concepts and debates in global social policy to equip students to critically examine the interplay between international institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the OECD and national governments, business and other non-state actors in shaping specific policy sub-sectors (social security; employment; family; health; education) in different national contexts. The course is international and comparative in orientation with a particular focus on policy developments in high and middle income countries in Asia, the Americas and Australasia.
Course description The course provides an introduction to the roles of international governmental organisations, national governments and non-state actors in social policymaking and the common and distinct socio-economic and political pressures driving and constraining reform in high and middle income countries.

The first four weeks of the course outline the context, institutions and actors shaping the politics of global social policy and the variation between countries in how they approach social policy. Weeks 5-8 begin the focus on the substantive policy areas covering social assistance and labour policy. These sessions draw out how variations in formal and informal employment affects policy preferences and explore the role of the ILO and World Bank in debates about decent work and a social protection floor. Weeks 9-11 each explore the specific policy sub-sectors of health, education and care policy. The six weeks spent examining discrete policy areas will examine the common and divergent pressure for reforms, the variation in policy practices and goals and critically reflect on the relative influence of international organisations and other non-state actors in each policy sub-sector. Overall the intention is to introduce students to the theories and concepts of a global rescaling of social policy and provide them with a critical understanding of the socio-economic factors influencing policy reform within and between high and middle income countries
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. 1. Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and debates in global social policy.
  2. 2. Critically analyse the role of actors, structures, institutions and discourses in the diagnosis of policy challenges and formulation of responses in key social policy sub-sectors.
  3. 3. Apply critical analysis to evaluate and synthesise evidence on policy problems and programmes in high and middle income countries.
  4. 4. Communicate complex policy debates in the style of a policy briefing paper produced by organisations such as the OECD and WHO.
  5. 5. Communicate effectively with peers and specialist academic staff about the topic of global social policy.
Reading List
Core texts
Yeates, N. (2014) Understanding Global Social Policy, 2nd edition, Policy Press: Bristol.
Kaasch, A. & Stubbs, P. (eds.) (2014) Transformations in global and regional social policies, Palgrave Macmillan.

Deacon, B. (2013) Global social policy in the making: The foundations of the social protection floor, Policy Press: Bristol
Surender, R. & Walker, R. (2013) (eds.) Social Policy in A Developing World, Edward Elgar.
Midgley, J. (2014) Social Development: theory and practice, SAGE Publications.
Yeates, N. & Holden, C. (eds.) (2009) The global social policy reader, Policy Press: Bristol

Global Social Policy
Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Jay Wiggan
Tel: (0131 6)50 3939
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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