Undergraduate Course: Politics of the Welfare State (SCPL08005)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course looks at the politics of the welfare state in the UK in the light of the dramatic economic events since 2008, including from an international perspective. The role of ideology, public opinion, political actors, interest groups and the media will be considered in understanding the directions that the British welfare state took in recent years. Specific social policy areas, for example: health, housing or unemployment (note that the policy areas vary depending on availability of teaching staff), will be discussed in detail and current reforms will be scrutinised.
The course analyses the ideological and political factors which have shaped the development of the British welfare state in the past and are shaping it in the present. Pivotal is the context of the financial and economic crisis that unfolded in 2008 and has important repercussions on social policy making until today. Students will be introduced to key welfare benefits and services, how they are delivered, funded and who benefits from them. The role of public opinion, key political actors, the media and their interplay are critically analysed. While the focus is on the British welfare state, an international and comparative perspective is taken with regards to the role of welfare ideologies, key institutional features, the impact of the crisis and other common contemporary challenges to the welfare state in Europe.
Together with the courses Social Policy and Society, European Social Policy and/or Evidence, Politics and Policy this course will form a coherent introduction to Social Policy, but it can also be taken as a topical outside subject on a ¿stand-alone¿ basis.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9,
Summative Assessment Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||1 essay of 2000 words = 30%; tutorial participation = 10%, degree exam = 60%; resit as for first sitting - if taken as second sitting exam mark becomes overall.
||Students will receive two key pieces of individual feedback prior to writing their final exam, namely comments on the 2000-word essay they submit around Week 6 and comments on their tutorial participation.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||2:00|
|Resit Exam Diet (August)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- analyse the ideological and political factors which have shaped the development of the welfare state in the past and are shaping it in the present.
- to understand how the welfare state works, how it is delivered, how it is paid for and who benefits from it.
- identify the current political debate and developments in four key policy areas: health, employment and social security, public services and housing.
- understand the politics of the British welfare state from an international perspective and in the context of the current economic crisis.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
|Course organiser||Dr Elke Heins
Tel: (0131 6)50 4049
|Course secretary||Mr Euan Morse
Tel: 0131 (6)51 1137