IDM096-Addressing Poverty and Inequality through Social Policy

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Henny Osbahr


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Learn an International Development perspective about how social policy – at global, national, and local level – is formulated, translated into action and evaluated. Recognise how social policy reflects dynamic political interests or normative positions within an increasingly globalised, uncertain world. Topics also include social protection, new politics of distribution and rights-based approaches. Using sectors examples (e.g. urban, rural, health), country case studies, videos, and group debate achieves a deeper understanding and an opportunity to think critically about solutions. Social policy is essential to the promotion of poverty reduction, equity, rights and sustainable development and to the creation of resilient livelihoods.

Social policy - at global, national, and local levels - is essential to the promotion of poverty reduction, equity and sustainable development and to the creation of resilient livelihoods. With a focus on inclusive development and sustainability issues, this module examines the issues of poverty, inequality, and livelihoods and considers how they are addressed through social policy. Contemporary development agendas are rapidly changing: between 2000 and 2015 poverty reduction was a central goal of social policies for development; in the post-2015 era development agendas are shifting to encompass issues of equity, security, employment, rights and sustainability. This is reflected in changing social policy responses, as the nature of social policy itself becomes increasingly globalized through the involvement of international organisations and political interests, shifting the dynamics of policy making and application. The module considers the role that policies and their advocates play in galvanising support and action towards realising post 2015 sustainable development goals and in addressing poverty and inequality in a globalised, uncertain world. The theory will be grounded with case study examples.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of the module students should be able to:
• demonstrate awareness of political / theoretical bases and assumptions upon which key policies are based;
• critically evaluate policies based on their objectives as well as the means by which they have been formulated;
• understand and explain the meaning of key concepts used in the analysis of poverty, inequality and inclusive development;
• consider how contemporary development agendas at are transforming social p olicy in the twenty-first century;
• show familiarity with key policies within a chosen sector (e.g. natural resources, agriculture, health, population, land, migration, education, etc.) and recognise the importance of evidence-based public policy;
• appreciate issue of equity, inclusion and rights;
• be able to think critically about their own positionality.

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to develop critical reading, discussion and written skills.

Outline content:
Key concepts to be covered include: Poverty, inequality and urban / rural livelihoods; The process of the making of social policy and the impact of globalisation on social policies for development, including the implications of poverty, inequality, participation and security; Issues of knowledge, representation and power in development; Conceptualising poverty, inequality and prosperity; The link between policy and development, cooperation and designing development assistance to respond to polic y agendas; Theoretical examination of types of social policy, including the institutional-welfare, the individualist free-market, social protection, and the community-driven models; Key concepts in social development policy such as welfare, equity, safety nets, livelihood/asset protection, rights-based social protection, and urban poverty; Addressing employment creation and livelihood issues; The role of institutions and adaptive governance; Approaches to poverty alleviation and inclusive develo pment; New wealth and the new politics of development; Implications of a rising global population and changing demographics for social policy.
Through case studies, group exercises and videos on practice (e.g. from international NGOs/IGO policy to community stories in individual countries, as well as national policy), students will hone their policy analysis skills and research particular social policies with respect to individual sectors and type.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Twenty 2-hour sessions of classroom contact time, incorporating lectures and seminars, group work based on readings and discussions. Additional individual study time for guided reading and preparation for classroom work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 20
Guided independent study: 80 80
Total hours by term 100 100
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Relative percentage of coursework: 100%:
1. Short individual critical reading report based on in-class discussion (Autumn Term) (worth 20%).
2. Write up of in-class exercise (Autumn Term) (worth 20%).
3. Essay of 2000 words (maximum) (Spring Term) (worth 60%).
Details, deadlines and guidance are given early in the autumn term.

Formative assessment methods:
Guidance on essay plans (Spring Term) (worth 0%)

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By submission of a new written essay.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 27 July 2020


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