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The Political Economy of the Welfare State (Module)

Module description

This module looks at the theoretical questions that arise when analysing welfare states from a comparative perspective. Students will be familiarised with debates, definitions and theoretical frameworks pertaining to the concept of the welfare state, the different models of welfare in existence, and the need for a rigorous analysis of the welfare state.

In this context we look closely at the feminist challenge to “malestream” welfare state models.

Learning Outcomes

The objective of the course is to enable students to read and interpret challenging literature on welfare state theory. They will be introduced to theoretical problems, which in consequence will help them to identify and analyse concrete political problems convincingly. Their knowledge and understanding of the interaction between the state, social policy, and life-experiences will accordingly increase.

Core Reading

P Pierson, et all (eds.), (2001) The New Politics of the Welfare State, Oxford: OUP.

P Starke, (2008) Radical Welfare State Retrenchment: A Comparative Analysis, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

F Castles (2007) The Disappearing State?: Retrenchment Realities in an Age of Globalization, Edward ElgarPublishings,

G Esping-Andersen (ed.) (1996), Welfare States in Transition, London: Sage.

Daly, M. and Rake, K. (2003) Gender and the Welfare State: Care, Work and Welfare  in Europe and the USA, Cambridge: Polity Press.


*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.

Staff information

Dr Soohyun Lee

Teaching pattern

Two Hours a week

Module assessment - more information

Presentation (15%); 4000 word essay (85%)

Key information

Module code 7AAOM016

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module No