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Unit information: Theorising Social Welfare 1 in 2015/16

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Unit name Theorising Social Welfare 1
Unit code SPOL31001
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Bridge
Open unit status Open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

The unit will serve as an introduction to philosophical reasoning by examining different philosophical perspectives on welfare. Students will be encouraged to critically assess these different perspectives both as stand-alone arguments and in terms of their implications for contemporary social policy. The core theme of the unit is that differing normative positions on welfare produce substantially different prescriptions for social policy. The unit will cover influential philosophical approaches including utilitarianism, variants of liberalism; types of egalitarianism through to feminism and deliberative reasoning and post-structuralism. Is welfare about giving happiness to the greatest number of people, or about equal shares or fair shares or about maximising individual freedoms? These and other questions will be addressed in this unit.

Reading and References

  • Alcock P, May M, Erskine A (ed) (2003) The Student’s Companion to Social Policy Oxford: Blackwell 2nd edn
  • Craig G, Burchart, T and Gordon D (2008) Social Justice and Public Policy Policy Press
  • Lister R (2010) Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy Policy Press
  • O’Brien M and Penna S (1998) Theorising Welfare London: Sage
  • Fitzpatrick T (2001) Welfare Theory: An Introduction London: Palgrave
  • Fitzpatrick T (2005) New Theories of Welfare London: Palgrave
  • O’Brien M and Penna S (1998) Theorising Welfare London: Sage
  • Sandel M 2010 Justice Penguin
  • Walsh M, Stephens P, Moore S (eds) (2000) Social Policy and Welfare Nelson Thomas