Undergraduate Course: Politics of the Welfare State (SCPL08005)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|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, and in the context of Brexit and the current Covid-19 crisis. 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 (e.g. education, housing, benefits and the labour market, public services) 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 the Covid-19 crisis since 2020, which have important repercussions on social policy making. 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 economic crises 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 2022/23, 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)
||Tutorial participation = 10%
1 essay of 2000 words = 30%
Take-Home Paper = 60%
||Students will receive individual feedback prior to writing their final timed assignment, namely comments on the 2000-word essay they submit.
|No Exam Information
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 different social policy areas.
- understand the politics of the British welfare state from an international perspective.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Additional Class Delivery Information
|Course organiser||Dr Elke Heins
Tel: (0131 6)50 4049
|Course secretary||Mr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001