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Unit information: Social Policy and the Welfare State: Historical Perspectives in 2015/16

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Unit name Social Policy and the Welfare State: Historical Perspectives
Unit code SPOL10011
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lart
Open unit status Open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will provide an introduction to the history of British social welfare from the early nineteenth century Poor Law through the construction of the post-war Welfare State, to the end of the post war ‘consensus’ on welfare in the 1980s. It will focus on key areas of social policy such as poverty and social exclusion, health, housing, education, employment, citizenship and immigration, and criminal justice. While it is a core unit for the Social Policy programmes, it will also be of interest to open unit students from a range of backgrounds who want to understand more about how and why we have the social institutions of welfare that we do. It does not pre-suppose any knowledge of either the historical period covered, or of social policy, but does require an active interest in the kinds of issues discussed.

Intended Learning Outcomes

a.An understanding of the history of British social policy

b.Knowledge of continuities and changes over time in policy and practice relating to the ‘core’ services that contribute to individual and collective social well being.

c.An awareness of the varied explanations of change and of different assessments of their impact.

Teaching Information

Lectures and seminars

Assessment Information

Assessment will be against the programme criteria defined for the appropriate level.

Formative assessment: One essay up to 2000 words

Summative assessment : One essay up to 2500 words (100%)

Reading and References

  • Daunton, M (2007) Wealth and Welfare: an economic and social history of Britain 1851-1951 Oxford University Press
  • Fraser, D (2009) The Evolution of the British Welfare State Palgrave Macmillan
  • Harris, B (2004) The Origins of the British Welfare State 1800 – 1945 Palgrave Macmillan
  • Thane, P (1996) The Foundations of the Welfare State Longman
  • Glennerster, H (2007) British Social Policy:1945 to the present Oxford : Blackwell
  • Lowe, R. (2005) The Welfare State in Britain since 1945. Macmillan