Module NHS-2202:
Comparative Health & Welfare

Module Facts

Run by School of Health Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Paul Carre

Overall aims and purpose

This module aims to answer the question: Who provides support and care to different groups, across the world, with regard to their health and welfare needs?

In order to do so, the programme explores a range of references to concepts of welfare regimes and critically evaluates differences in health and welfare outcomes at an international level in relation to a range of economic and political variables. These variables include patterns of migration, national political and economic histories, social determinants of health, environmental factors, war and conflict, human rights violations and ideological influences. The programme is designed to serve as an introduction to the identification and analysis of ideologies, concepts and theoretical perspectives surrounding the mixed economy of welfare and the role of the state in capitalist and “majority world” societies.

Specifically, a “systems” approach will study the role of five key components in the provision of health and welfare services – the state, the private sector, civil society, local communities, and family/kinship networks – and how they interact according to individual national dynamics.

By focusing on concrete examples of health inequalities, poverty and need, the module explores the process of the ideological, historical and social construction of social problems and policy responses to them. It will provide students with an overview of past, present and possible future responses to meeting individual and group needs and the ideologies that inform them, in the UK and internationally.

This module offers numerous opportunities to engage students in contemporary international socio-political discourses. By reinforcing theories and perspectives with weekly case studies the programme aims to meet students’ needs for dynamic, interesting and relevant engagement with international health and social policy topics.

Course content

  1. The development of an understanding of welfare regime theory and its critiques;
  2. A comparative analysis of the structure, funding, objectives and outcomes of selected health and welfare systems in a number of countries;
  3. To examine the impact of cultural, political and demographic shifts on those countries which have national systems and the situation of those countries in which they are not formally developed;
  4. To explore the prevalence of health inequalities and to identify socio-economic, cultural and geographical variables that generate these inequalities;
  5. To explore differences in welfare outcomes, and the possible explanations for these;
  6. To map the differences in patterns of poverty and inequality around the world and to examine the economic and social determinants of these by using a range of countries as formative case studies;
  7. To explore global issues, including communicable diseases, health behaviours, poverty, conflict, human rights, recession, climate and natural disasters, in order to evaluate the role of international organizations in promoting and protecting the welfare of the global population.

Assessment Criteria

excellent

Excellent (70% to 100%) (A- to A+)

• Present a sophisticated and holistic description of the impact of a welfare system on the lives of individuals within a specific demographic group;

• Critique the perspectives and welfare channels which have formative impacts on the identification of, and support for, individuals with complex needs;

• Demonstrate an awareness of the value, or limitations, of comparative analysis in the production of a review of welfare provision within an international framework.

threshold

Threshold (40% - 49%) (D- to D+)

• Compare and contrast the key features of welfare policies and approaches to a specific area of need by the UK and two other countries with reference to theoretical models used in comparative analysis;

• Identify the impact that competing forces of globalisation and political, cultural and institutional traditions have on provision of care, welfare and support;

• Summarise the main points of the research and evaluation in the form of an essay plan and translate these main points effectively in essay format in class under time constrained conditions.

good

Good (50% -69%) (C- to B+)

• Demonstrate a substantial knowledge of the structure, objectives and outcomes of welfare provision in three countries, by identifying and analysing key social, political, economic and cultural factors in each case;

• Identify and evaluate the relationships between the various actors and processes identified in each country’s welfare system;

• Comment on the barriers and challenges to achieving welfare-related goals, in relation to the social group chosen for the review.

Learning outcomes

  1. By the end of the module, students will:

    1. Demonstrate knowledge of theories of welfare regimes and their critiques;
    2. Describe the differing approaches to health and welfare issues in an international context;
    3. Have a knowledge of, and be able to suggest explanations for, global differences in health and welfare outcomes;
    4. Have a knowledge of the role of international organisations and social movements;
    5. Critically review differing welfare approaches to an identified health or social need, and communicate findings effectively within time constraints.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
ESSAY Essay (Assignment 2)

Essay (80% of Module Assessment) Learning Outcomes 1-5

There is one combined assessment on the unit consisting of two parts. The task is to carry out a comparative review of the ways different countries approach welfare in relation to one social group and health or social issue of the student’s choice.

Students will need to compare the UK with two other countries in the world, which they choose. They are encouraged to select a social group relevant to their degree programme, working role or personal interests. For example, students could elect to focus on children with disabilities, elderly citizens, people in poverty, street children, children in care, adults with impairments or chronic conditions, lone parents, people on probation, young adults, homeless people, the long-term unemployed, etc.

The essay will be a structured and comprehensive account of how the five elements of the welfare system in each country address the needs of the chosen group. It will comment on the similarities and differences between the three countries, and also conclude by commenting on the perceived best system for the people concerned.

80
WRITTEN PLAN Essay Plan (Assignment 1)
  1. Essay Plan, of 200 words, plus reference list (20% of Module Assessment) Learning Outcomes 1-5

There is one combined assessment on the unit consisting of two parts. The task is to carry out a comparative review of the ways different countries approach welfare in relation to one social group and health or social issue of the student’s choice.

Students will need to compare the UK with two other countries in the world, which they choose. They are encouraged to select a social group relevant to their degree programme, working role or personal interests. For example, students could elect to focus on children with disabilities, elderly citizens, people in poverty, street children, children in care, adults with impairments or chronic conditions, lone parents, people on probation, young adults, homeless people, the long-term unemployed, etc.

The first part of the task is to write a bullet point concise plan for the comparative review, including a reference list using the Harvard referencing style, to be submitted electronically before the Easter break. Students will receive feedback on the plan and a grade.

20

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Private study 178
Workshop

Weekly lecture (one hour), followed by a discussion and case study. The weekly session will last 2 hours and involve group tasks, debates and analysis of media content.

22

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Caring - Showing concern for others; caring for children, people with disabilities and/or the elderly
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

Key Skills Taught: Communication, Information Technology, Interpersonal Skills, Subject Specific Skills:

1. Communication.

a. Students will be exposed to a variety of teaching and learning formats, including lectures, seminars and workshops, independent study and flexible learning via Blackboard. They will continue to develop their skills in communicating in these varied settings, using both written and oral communication techniques. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.2

b. Students will be encouraged to develop skills in listening, note-taking and reflective reviewing. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.3)

c. Students should also make connections between their own social knowledge and lived experiences and the knowledge acquired in the module. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.4)

2. Information Technology.

a. It is intended that the case studies will focus on a variety of themes and topics, generated in the Block 1 lectures as well as in group discussions in early seminars. These topics will then become the focus of themed discussion boards and communal resources posted on Group locations on Blackboard. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.2)

b. Students will, therefore, be able to post links to media stories, recent publications, third sector organisations and academic discourse, in order to build a collaborative student-led database of useful material. This will effectively create an online Learning Community. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.3)

3. Interpersonal Skills.

a. The development of co-operative learning skills in a small group context.

b. To effectively share information, work in teams, discuss course topics and contribute to debates.

c. To reflect upon learning in order to evaluate personal performance and plan future learning. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.3)

d. Developing a reflexive approach to empathising with, and understanding, the nature of poverty and inequality, and the impact of conflict and natural disasters on populations; thereby acquiring valuable social interaction skills, such as active listening and objectivity, as well as a “moral compass” on global welfare issues (Health Studies Benchmark 6.4)

4. Subject-specific Skills.

a. The ability to read and understand relevant core texts, utilise theories and concepts in the social sciences. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.2)

b. The ability to investigate issues independently, to identify sources of information, evaluate evidence and collate information from a range of sources, including lectures, seminars and library resources. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.4)

c. Engage in the identification and evaluation of peer reviewed academic sources as well as other scholarly outputs. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.2)

d. Critically analyse their findings, and make informed conclusions about international welfare systems, past and present. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.2)

e. Locate, extract and analyse quantitative data that illustrates the nature of poverty, inequality, wellbeing and social capital over time and across populations. (Health Studies Benchmark 6.4)

Resources

Talis Reading list

http://readinglists.bangor.ac.uk/modules/nhs-2202.html

Reading list

Core Text. Castles, F.G., Leibfried, S., Lewis, J., Obinger, H. & Pierson, C. (eds.) (2012) The Oxford handbook of the welfare state, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Recommended texts. Alcock, P., May, M., & Wright, S. (Eds.). (2012). The student's companion to social policy. John Wiley & Sons.

Blakemore, K., & Warwick-Booth, L. (2013). Social policy: an introduction. McGraw-Hill International.

Clasen, J. (Ed.). (1999). Comparative social policy: concepts, theories and methods. Blackwell Publishing.

Esping-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. John Wiley & Sons.

Farnsworth, K. & Irving, Z. (eds, 2011) Social policy in challenging times: economic crisis and welfare systems, Bristol, Policy Press.

Kleinman, M. (2002), A European Welfare State? European Union Social Policy in context, New York, Palgrave.

Knifton, L. & Quinn, N. (eds.) (2013), Public Mental Health: Global Perspectives, Maidenhead, Berkshire, Open University Press.

Landman, T. (2008) Issues and methods in comparative politics, 3rd edn., London. Noble, V. (2008). Inside the welfare state: foundations of policy and practice in post-war Britain. Routledge.

Page, R. (2007). Revisiting the welfare state. McGraw-Hill International.

Pierson, C. & Castles, F. (eds. 2006). The welfare state reader, Cambridge, Polity Press.

Sen, A. K. (2009). The idea of justice. Harvard University Press.

Titmuss, R. M. (2001). Welfare and wellbeing: Richard Titmuss's contribution to social policy. MIT Press.

Wilkinson, R. G., & Pickett, K. (2010). The Spirit Level. Penguin Books.

Journals Benefits Quarterly

Critical Social Policy - Gender, Work & Organization -

Global Social Policy

International Journal of Social Welfare

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

International Social Security Review

Journal of Comparative Social

Journal of European Social Policy

Journal of Policy Practice

Journal of Poverty & Social Justice

Journal of Social Policy

Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

Politics & Policy

Scandinavian Journal of Social Welfare

Social Policy & Administration

Social Policy & Society

Websites OECD Health Database http://goo.gl/F8XK6l

WHO Global Health Observatory: Country Statistics http://goo.gl/Mb0myo

Centre for Policy Studies (CSP) - http://www.cps.org.uk

Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) - https://www.gov.uk/government /organisations/department-for-work-pensions

European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research http://www.euro.centre.org/

Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) - http://www.ippr.org/

International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) - http://www.icsw.org/

International Labour Organization - http://www.ilo.org/global/publications/lang--en/index.htm

International Social Security Association (ISSA) - http://www.issa.int/

Inter-America Development Bank - http://www.iadb.org/en/

Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) - http://www.jrf.org.uk/

Policy Studies Institute (PSI) - http://www.psi.org.uk/

Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) - http://www.york.ac.uk/inst/spru/

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) - http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/

Courses including this module