Comparative Social Policy


Degree Program: Social Administration (4th semester – compulsory)

Degree Program : Political Science (4th semester – compulsory)

Teaching hours: 3 per week-5 ECTS

Course tutor: Maria Petmesidou, Professor

Aims:

The course aims to:

  • Introduce and explain the principal concepts, theories and methods in comparative social policy analysis.
  • Explore the differences and similarities between welfare regimes and the principles underlying the variety of policies, with an emphasis on “new risks” and reform challenges.
  • Study and evaluate social policies and welfare reform trends in South European countries vis-à-vis other welfare regimes.
  • Examine the impact of European integration and globalising processes on social policy developments in European countries.

Learning outcomes:

On completion of this course, students should have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  • Have a good grasp of different theoretical approaches to understanding welfare regimes.
  • Be able to use available literature and secondary data to evaluate similarities and differences between welfare regimes.
  • Develop a deep understanding of the South European social protection model and the reform challenges faced over the last decades.
  • Develop essay writing and presentation skills.

Content:

The course aims to introduce students to the comparative analysis of different social protection systems and their change trends. The concept of “regimes of welfare capitalism”, developed by G. Esping-Andersen, is used as a basis for comparing welfare states (issues discussed: the role of the state, the market and the family in social provision, degrees of “de-commodification” achieved by different social protection systems, the welfare state as a system of social stratification, welfare state and labour market regimes).

Alternative welfare state typologies, as well as various approaches focusing on the gender dimension in explaining different “welfare mixes” are critically discussed too. Major trends in welfare state reform over the last decades are analysed in light of social change, “new risks” and the effects of European integration and globalizing processes. The explanatory range and power of various comparative approaches is examined on the basis of empirical evidence in respect to particular social policy areas (social security, employment policy, health and social care). Special emphasis is put on the distinctive characteristics of social protection systems in South European countries (delayed development compared to North-West European welfare states, internal and external pressures for reform, the effects of the current economic crisis).

The course consists of 13 weeks three-hour lectures/seminars during the winter term.

Recommended reading available through the Electronic Service for the Management of Academic Books and Readings (“Eudoxus” – Ministry of Education):

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990).The three worlds of welfare capitalism (Greek translation, Athens: Topos, 2014).

Esping-Andersen, G. (with Gallie, D., Hemerijck, A. & Myles, J.), 2002.Why we need a new welfare state? (Greek translation, Athens: Dionikos, 2006).

Gough, I., 1979. The political economy of the welfare state. (Greek translation, Athens: Savalas, 2007).

Lewis, G., Gewirtz, S. and Clarke J. eds, 2000. Rethinking social policy.(Greek translation.Athens: Gutenberg, 2007).

Examinable materialand assessment

(1) Esping-Andersen, G., 1990.The three worlds of welfare capitalism (Greek translation, Athens: Topos, 2014 (Forward by M. Petmesidou / Chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, 8 & 9).

(2) Esping-Andersen, G. (with Gallie, D., Hemerijck, A. & Myles, J.), 2002. Why we need a new welfare state? (Greek translation, Athens: Dionikos, 2006, Chapters 1, 2 & 6).

(3) Ferrera, M., 1999. The restructuring of the welfare state in South Europe. In: M. Matsaganis, ed. Prospects of the South European welfare state. Athens: Ellinika Grammata, pp. 33-65 (in Greek, see TEXTS).

(4) Gough, I., 1979. The political economy of the welfare state. (Greek translation, Athens: Savalas, 2007).

(5) Jessop, B., 2000. From the KWNS to the SWPR. In: G. Lewis, S. Gewirtz and J. Clarke, edsRethinking social policy (Greek translation, Athens: Gutenberg, 2007, pp. 216-233).

(6) Lewis, J., 2000. Gender and welfare regimes. In: G. Lewis, S. Gewirtz and J. Clarke, edsRethinking social policy (Greek translation, Athens: Gutenberg, 2007, pp. 61-78).

(7) Petmesidou, M., 1992. Social inequalities and social policy.Athens: Exandas (Chapter 3) (in Greek, see TEXTS).

(8) Petmesidou, M., 2011. Values choices, dilemmas and prospects for the European welfare state. In: N. Papadakis and N. Chaniotakis, edsEducation, society and politics. Athens: Pedio (in Greek, see TEXTS).

(9) Petmesidou, M., 2014. The welfare state at a critical juncture.GreekSociological Review, 1(1), 59-70 (in Greek, see TEXTS).

(10) Course overheads and notes taken from lectures

It is also required that students consult other works included in the reading list (particularly these marked as recommended reading).

Assessment is based on: class participation (in the form of questions and comments on a weekly basis that demonstrate knowledge of assigned texts; an essay of about 1500 words is optional); and a 2-hour written examination in the end of the semester. Class participation assessment (up to 3 points, on a 0 to 10 scale) will be added to the written examination grade, provided the latter is a “Pass” grade.

The course syllabus, reading list, essay topics, course overheads and guidelines on how to write references and bibliographies are available on the following website:

http://utopia.duth.gr/~mpetmes