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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education and Sport : Education

Undergraduate Course: Ideology and social problems (EDUA07008)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education and Sport CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryAn understanding of the dynamic relationship between ideology and social problems is central to a critical analysis of educational and professional engagement in communities. That is to say, social and educational policies have to be understood as ideologically informed ways of seeing the world rather than as neutral and disinterested constructions of social problems. Moreover, professionalism is marked by some degree of autonomy and capacity to interpret and define - and if necessary, redefine - social problems and their solutions in ways which benefit individuals and groups in communities. In general terms policy always needs to be interpreted and ideological understanding is a resource for this. This foundational course for community educators is intended to develop students' ideological awareness, analytical skills and intellectual capacity to make cogent political arguments in relation to the analysis of social problem definition, solution and action. The teaching programme presents a wide range of ideological perspectives through which to examine the wider political and policy context in which educational work is undertaken. Many of the concerns addressed in the course are applicable to other professions which engage with communities
Course description 1. Academic description as summary above
2. Outline content
Week 1 is a broad introduction to the course. In the following 4 weeks we examine some established
ideological perspectives which are important for understanding the ideas, values and assumptions informing policy problems and solutions and, thereafter alternative ideological perspectives which help us think critically about the established ones. These perspectives are not exhaustive but provide an opportunity to examine major influences on policy as well as important critiques. After these we will look at selected policy areas through the lens of ideological framing.
3. Student learning experience
Good teaching and learning involves a joint effort and constructive dialogue. Our experience in running this course over a number of years confirms this claim. We hope it will be a challenging and informative experience which you engage with in a committed and thoughtful way: teaching staff are passionate about their subject and seek to instil the same passion in you.
The taught programme involves two weekly lecture sessions plus a seminar which involves, in total, 3 x 5O minute contact periods per week. The lectures will introduce key ideological perspectives, policy areas and their critical appraisal and will involve a lively input on selective aspects of the ideology or policy area with opportunities for questions and discussion.
Seminars will be student-led featuring poster presentations leading into more general discussion facilitated by a written feedback on poster presentations.
To maximise your learning experience it is essential that you undertake some preparation. Each week this will involve guided reading from a course text book and, for the seminars, identifying a policy issue, something current in the news, which can be the focus for developing skills in ideological analysis and critique. Teaching staff will provide guidance on this activity.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative task
1. Poster presentation (formative; between weeks 2 and 6)
Description: In small groups/pairs (depending on student numbers), present on the key features of one ideological perspective, as well as its key criticisms
Summative task
2. Written task equivalent to 2000 words (summative 100%)
Description: The task will engage students in writing about the dynamic relationship between ideology and social problems.
Feedback Between weeks two and six, students will present on the key features and criticisms of a particular ideology, being encouraged to draw on contemporary examples. Course tutors will offer formative written feedback, to be returned to the students the following week. Students will also complete a peer feedback form for presenters in the spirit of sharing what the presentations raised for them
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain the concept of ideology and demonstrate an awareness of competing ideological models
  2. Articulate the relevance of the relationship between ideology and the framing of policies relevant to professional practice
  3. Apply ideological analysis in order to evaluate particular social problems and their solutions from different perspectives
  4. Engage in respectful dialogue on contentious social issues in diverse groups
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the dynamic relationship between ideology and the values that underpin community learning and development
Reading List
AIcock, P. May, M and Rowingson, K (Eds.) (2008) The Student's Companion to Social Policy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing
Blakemore, K. (2007) Social Policy: An introduction. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Freeden, M, and Stears, M. (Eds.) (2013) The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies. Oxford: Oxford University Press (available as e-book)
Haywood,A. (2017) Political Ideologies: An Introduction (6th edition). Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Jamrozik, A (1998) The sociology of social problems: theoretical perspectives and methods of intervention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leach, R. (2002) Political Ideology in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Lister, R. (2010) Understanding Theory and Concepts in Social Policy. London: Policy Press.
Pierson, C., Castles,F and Naumann I. (2014 Third Edition) The Welfare State Reader (3rd edition). Cambridge: Polity Press.
Taylor, G (2007) Ideology and Welfare. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1) Apply Knowledge Skills and Understanding
Exercise professional autonomy
Work with communities to shape policy debates and develop critical literacy.
2) Generic Cognitive Skills
Use ideological analysis to critically analyse developments in professional practice.
Critically analyse the politics of policy.
3) Autonomy. Accountability and Working With Others
Discussing controversial issues in groups
Developing critically reflective practice.
Constructing and communicating cogent arguments to power holders and decision makers.
Keywordscommunity education,ideology,social problems,critical literacies,critical policy analysis,CLD
Course organiserDr Callum McGregor
Course secretaryMrs Alta Mene
Tel: (0131 6)51 6381
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