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[SI0077] - Poverty Social Policy and Income Maintenance in Contemporary Britain

Module Code: SI0077
Module Leader: Mark Drakeford
Year: 2
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20

Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars.
Assessment: Coursework (essays) 2500 words (20%) - Autumn Semester; Written examination 2 hours (80%) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Social Science; Social Policy; BPS Social Science


Module Aims

To provide an introduction to major themes and discussions in relation to poverty and social policy with an emphasis upon those debates and considerations which surround the development of income maintenance and anti-poverty policies in Britain today.


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the main social policy issues which arise in relation to poverty in Britain.
  • Account for the main elements of the contemporary income maintenance system.

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Provide an analysis of the impact of contemporary policy making upon poverty.
  • Presentation of the key research and debates in relation to poverty and income maintenance through structured seminars.

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Critically evaluate alternative approaches to income maintenance, both formal and informal.
  • Critically evaluate the broad consequences and dimensions of Poverty as experienced in Contemporary Britain..

Transferable Skills

The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills:

  • Presentation skills, debating skills

Synopsis of Module Content

This course begins with a focus upon basic questions such as definitions of poverty, how poverty is measured and whether or not poverty exists in Britain today. Thereafter the course concentrates upon specific questions of contemporary relevance, such as workfare and the New Deal, the `demographic time bomb' and inwork benefits, specific dimensions of contemporary poverty such as student poverty, food poverty, gender and race, and rural poverty, alternative income maintenance strategies, such as those provided by local authority anti-poverty programmes, voluntary initiatives such as credit unions and LETS schemes and proposals for wholesale reform, will also be assessed.


Opportunities for Formative Assessment

In seminars, via feedback on student presentations & in class discussions. In lectures, via assessment of students understanding & knowledge in discussions.


Arrangements for Feedback on Work

Formal written feedback provided on essays, together with face to face discussion of work, where necessary. Direct feedback on participation in seminars.


Indicative Reading

Students will be expected to demonstrate a familiarity with use of major, relevant social policy journals, including the Journal of Social Policy, Critical Social Policy and the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice.

Alcock,  P. (2006)  Understanding Poverty, 3rd edition, London, Palgrave

Bradshaw, J., Sainsbury, R. eds.  (2000) Experiencing Poverty: Aldershot, Ashgate

Drakeford, M. (2000)  Social Policy and Privatisation, London, Longman

Hills, J. and Stewart, K. (2005) A More Equal Society?, New Labour, poverty and social exclusion, Bristol, Policy Press.

Millar, J. (ed) (2003) Understanding Social Security, Bristol, Policy Press

Spicker,  P. (2007) The Idea of Poverty, Bristol, Policy Press