Local Government And Social Policy

Degree Program: Social Administration (5th semester – elective)

Teaching: 3 hours weekly – ECTS: 5

Course Tutor: Christoforos Skamnakis, Assistant Professor

Curriculum Vitae: http://www.socadm.duth.gr/staff/faculty/Skamnakis.shtml

E-mail: cskamnak@socadm.duth.gr

Website: http://www.socadm.duth.gr/undergraduate/course/a1.shtml

eClass: https://eclass.duth.gr/eclass/courses/KOM08166/


This course examines the contribution of administrative bodies in the organization of social protection mechanisms. Local governance bodies in particular contribute, where relevant, to the practice of social policy. When considering their specific operating framework, a number of important questions arise vis-à-vis the role of administration: in the organization of state functions, in systems of social protection, in the functioning of social welfare provisions, in the arrangement of social policy interventions in space, and more. Exploring the importance of the subnational level in social policy is the central aspect of this course. Issues pertaining to the design and implementation of actions and social policy provisions, are discussed in light of the dynamic relationship between the subnational, national and supranational levels. The course examines the possibilities and limitations, as well as the advantages and weaknesses of administrative bodies in the field of social policy, while focusing on the prospect of new international cooperations, and the aspiration toward shared goals at the national and supranational levels (at the EU level in particular). Discussion on practical implementations will focus on the European space, while more elaborate references will be made to the Greek case.

Course outline:

National systems of social protection, the role of the state in the social protection network.The principle of subsidiarity in the field of social protection policy and reference to the approaches to sovereignty in contemporary states.

  1. Perspectives on the development of administrative institutions at the local level, taxonomies of the decentralized competences of social protection systems. Perspectives on the contemporary role of administration.
  2. The conditions for creating subnational social protection policies, and institutions of subnational organization in the context of the European Union.
  3. The role of administration in national actions, the role of supranational institutions in the organization of social protection mechanisms at the subnational level.
  4. Features of social protection mechanisms at the subnational level. The linking of administrative bodies, to interventions by the central state.
  5. The institutional arrangement of the subnational level in Greece, first and second degrees of administration. The role of the state and regional management.
  6. The implementation of social policy programs at the subnational level in Greece, social protection programs in EU countries.

Course objectives:

Upon completing the course, students are expected to a) know the arrangement of administrative bodies in Europe and Greece, b) outline the competences of administrative bodies in the field of social protection, c) be in a position to discuss concepts such as Administration, Local Authorities, Social Protection and Welfare, d) possess the basic analytical tools required to analyze the role, as well as the comparative advantages and weaknesses of administrative bodies.


Essay at the end of the semester (100%)

Oral examination if deemed necessary (prior notice will be provided).


Standard in greek

  • Georgandas, E. (2002), Local state and locality. On the trail the two discussions, Saki Karagiorga Foundation.
  • Skamnakis Ch. (2006) Role of local government in social policy, Gutenberg.


  • Amin, A. and Thrift, N. (2002) Cities: Reimagining the Urban. Oxford: Polity.
  • Castles, F. (2005) The Future of the Welfare State: Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Griggs, J., Whitworth, A., Walker, R., McLennan, D.,and Noble, M. (2008) Person- or place- based policies to tackle disadvantage?: Not knowing what works. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
  • Loughlin, J. (2005). ‘The regional question, subsidiarity and the future of Europe’, in S. Weatherill and U. Bernitz (eds.), The Role of Regions and Sub-national Actors in the European Union, Oxford: Hart.
  • Room, G (2008), «Multi-tiered international welfare systems», in Gough, I. and G. Wood,(eds) Insecurity and Welfare Regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.