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

Undergraduate Course: Party Politics and Welfare States in Democratic Capitalism (SCPL10041)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course aims to analyse the relationship between party politics and welfare states in democratic capitalism: How does party politics shape the welfare state and capitalist development? And how does the welfare state and capitalist development shape party politics? In addressing these overarching questions, the course takes a comparative-historical approach, with a particular focus on the more recent 'populist wave' underpinning party system transformation in the advanced capitalist countries.
Course description The course is organised in three parts: In the first part, we draw on Polanyi seminal book "Great Transformation" to discuss the origins and implications of capitalist market expansion, before examining the role of political parties in forming and consolidating European welfare states. The second part reviews different perspectives on the changing relationship between party politics and democratic capitalism after the golden age of the welfare state. The third part engages with the causes and consequences of the more recent populist wave in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the USA. We conclude with a discussion about the role of populist parties in affecting the relationship between capitalism and democracy today.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Politics of the Welfare State (SCPL08005)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 85 %, Practical Exam 15 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class participation, worth 15%
Essay, 1500 words, worth 30%
Research project, 2500 words, worth 55%
Feedback The feedback from the essay will enable students to utilize previously discussed concepts and apply them in the research project.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the origins of free-market capitalism and political reactions to it
  2. Understand the role of political parties in shaping post-war welfare states
  3. Assess the causes of why populist parties have been on the rise in the past roughly three decades
  4. Identify and explain the diverse impacts of populist parties on welfare states and national models of capitalism
Reading List
Polanyi, K. ([1944] 2001). The Great Transformation. The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, 2nd ed., Boston: Beacon Press.

Streeck, W. (2011). The Crises of Democratic Capitalism. New Left Review 71 (Sept.-Oct.).

Mair, P. (2013) Ruling the Void. The Hollowing of Western Democracy. London: Verso Books.

Beramendi, P., Häusermann, S., Kitschelt, H., and Kriesi, H. (2015). The Politics of Advanced Capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gidron, N. and Hall, P. A. (2020): Populism as a Problem of Social Integration. Comparative Political Studies 53(7), 1027-1059.

Rathgeb, P. & Busemeyer, M. (2022). How to study the populist radical right and the welfare state? West European Politics 45(1), 1-23.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Both pieces of assessment will foster generic cognitive skills (e.g. critical analysis). The research project will also specifically develop attributes around accountability and working with others.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Philip Rathgeb
Course secretaryMr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001
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