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Unit information: State and Society in 2014/15

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Unit name State and Society
Unit code SPOLD2011
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Doogan
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit considers the changing nature of the inter-relationship between 'state') and 'society') from a range of perspectives and theories. It surveys current debates in the broad area of social development and institutional change and considers their implications for policy making. Thus, contemporary political and economic developments describe, on the one hand, the retreat of the state due to processes of 'globalisation'), 'deregulation') and 'marketisation'). On the other hand, discussions of the 'communitarian') agenda and the 'third way') suggest a new contract between the citizen and the state, premised upon a re-negotiation of the rights and responsibilities ascribed to individuals and communities. The emergence of mechanisms of governance at local, national and international levels serve to redefine the notions of 'public and private'). Relatedly there are changing forms of government intervention in the economy, the labour market and in the welfare state alongside an increasing reliance of self-provision. The unit also considers the connections between the 'free market and the strong state').


  • This unit aims to expose students to the range of current debates within social theory that consider institutional restructuring and the changing nature of the relationship between state and society and to consider their relevance for policy making.
  • The unit will provide up to date information on policy developments that highlight changing role and function of the state at different spatial levels and inform the reallocation of public and private responsibilities for wealth creation and social welfare provision.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will mean that the student has acquired a critical understanding of contemporary debates within social theory that relate to institutional restructuring and the redrawing of boundaries and the reconfiguration of relationship between the state and society. They will be able to consider the implications of these developments for policy making. They will be able to explore these ideas on different levels and consider the prospects for national supranational and sub-national policy making.

Teaching Information

15 hours seminars.

Assessment Information

4000 word essay.

Reading and References

  • Callinicos, A (2001) Against the Third Way, Cambridge: An Anti-capitalist Critique, Cambridge, Polity Press
  • Castes F.G (2004) The future of the welfare state :crisis myths and crisis realities, Oxford Oxford University Press,
  • Doogan, K. (2009) New Capitalism? The Transformation of Work, Cambridge Polity
  • Genschell, P., (2004) Globalization and the welfare state: a retrospective Journal of European Public Policy 11:4 August 2004 pp 613–636
  • Held, D. McGrew A, (2003) Global Transformations Reader , an introduction to the globalization debate
  • Pierson C &Castles F.G. (2006) The welfare state reader .2nd Cambridge Polity,
  • Polanyi K., (1957) The Great Transformation, Boston, Beacon Press