SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3L424384
Module Leader Stephen Sinclair
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Any combination of Level 1 & 2 Social Science modules (not including Psychology)

Summary of Content

Poverty is widely recognised as both a global social problem and a continuing problem in developed nations. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of social problems. There is considerable evidence that poverty exacerbates other social problems (such as childhood poverty leading to lower educational outcomes) while other social problems instigate poverty (such as lower levels of education leading to poorer employment prospects - and poverty - in adulthood). Through this module, students will critically appraise ideas of and responses to poverty both in the UK and globally, and examine the varied strategies used to tackle it. Students will analyse the relationship between poverty, wealth and inequality. The module will examine competing explanations of why poverty and inequality exist and the prescriptions which different social theorists, political ideologies and interest groups have proposed to address these conditions. Students will examine what the evidence suggests about the nature, scale and effectiveness of different policies aimed at dealing with poverty and inequality, both in the UK and internationally. This module will assist students to develop the capacity to judge independently how different welfare policies reflect (or fail to reflect) such core issue as equality, social justice and efficiency. The module will also examine the intersection between social problems, welfare policies and divisions of class, gender, ethnicity and age. The module will therefore provide students with the factual and theoretical foundation required to analyse contemporary social issues and challenges to welfare.


1: Introduction : how to analyse social policies Block A: The Meaning and Measurement of Poverty 2.1. Defining 'poverty' and related concepts -450 2.2. How much poverty is there? Who lives in poverty? Transient, persistent and permanent poverty 3.1. Theories of and perspectives on poverty 3.2. Contemporary child poverty: guest speaker from the Child Poverty Action Group Block B: The Development of UK Welfare Policy and Institutions -567 4.1. From the Tudor period to the early-20 th century 4.2. Beveridge, Butskellism and 'back to basics' 5.1. New Labour and the new millennium 5.2. Austerity and social policy after the Great Recession 6.1. Social policy in Scotland 6.2. Poverty and participation: guest speaker from the Poverty Alliance -567 Block C: Inequalities of Wealth and Health 7.1. Wealth and income inequalities: the global and national picture 7.2. Health inequalities: speaker from the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health 8: Reading Week exercise -567 9.1. The geography of poverty and inequality 9.2. Gender and other social divisions 10.1. Poverty and Disability: guest lecture from Inclusion Scotland -567 Block D: Global Social Policies and Comparative Analyses 10.2. Comparative social policy analysis: welfare 'regimes' and' families' 11.1. Social Innovation and social enterprise 11.2. Tackling international poverty: guest speaker from Oxfam -567 Block E: Developing, Delivering and Implementing Social Policies 12. Poverty, inequality and future policy options: guest lecture from Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:1 analyse, compare and evaluate alternative theories of the causes of poverty and its relationship to inequality2 appreciate the social and individual consequences of poverty and inequality3 critically appraise alternative approaches to the measurement of poverty, inequality and wealth4 apply a range of social science concepts and perspectives to understand key factors involved in shaping the historical development and current nature of social policies5 assess the arguments and evidence used in debates over welfare policies and reforms and which guide policy proposals and reforms6 critically evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness, efficiency and distributional impacts of a range of policy measures7 understand the respective roles and powers of different UK institutions in developing and delivering social policies8 utilise evidence to present a poverty profile of a geographical area or social groupThe module also relates to several key elements of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME):9 examining effective relationships and partnerships between private, public and third sector organisations 10 analysis of the social consequences of different management practices and policy delivery mechanisms11 equalities considerations relating to the PRME Working Group on Gender Equality12 contributing to the activities of the PRME Working Group on Poverty: a Challenge to Management Education

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The Module is organised into thematic blocks: -567 Introduction: analysing social policies -567 The meaning and measurement of poverty The development of UK welfare policy and institutions Inequalities of wealth and health: global, national and local Internal social policy and comparative analyses Developing, delivering and implementing social policies Lectures will be interactive, involving reflective exercises, discussion of posed questions and stimulus material, interpretation and discussion of online (video and audio) resources, and 'flipped' sessions where students present research and analysis findings. Guest speakers from a range of public and third sector organisations will deliver lectures on specialist subjects. Seminars involve group work activities enabling students to discuss and analyse in greater depth themes and issues raised in lectures and other learning resources. Seminars will also support students to develop the research and analytical skills examined in the coursework assignment, e.g. by critical reviewing assigned reading and evaluating selected welfare reforms.

Indicative Reading

Bespoke reading lists with at least one key reading that is freely accessible online will be recommended for each lecture. In addition, textbooks, journals and key websites will provide core support for advanced student learning. Books -513 Alcock, P, May, M. and Wright, S. (eds). (2012) The Student's Companion To Social Policy . (4 th edition). London: Wiley/ Blackwell. Castles, F. G, Leibfried, S, Lewis, J, Obinger, H. and Pierson, C. (eds). (2010) The Oxford Handbook Of The Welfare State . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Equalities and Human Rights Commission. (2010) How Fair Is Britain? <http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/key-projects/triennial-review/full-report-and-evidence-downloads/> - Equality And Human Rights Commission Triennial Review 2010 . London: EHRC. Glennerster, H. (2009). Understanding the Finance of Welfare: What Welfare Costs and How to Pay for it. Bristol: Policy Press. -540 Hudson, J. and Lowe, S. (eds). (2009). Understanding the Policy Process: Analysing Welfare Policy and Practice . (2 nd edition). Bristol: Policy Press. -513 Lister, R. (2010). Understanding Theories And Concepts In Social Policy . Bristol: Policy Press. M c Kendrick, J.H. et a l. (2014) Poverty in Scotland: The Independence Referendum and Beyond. London: CPAG. Millar, J. (2009). (ed) Understanding Social Security: Issues for Policy and Practice . Bristol: Policy Press. Pogge, W. (2008) World Poverty and Human Rights. London: Routledge. -567 Ridge, T. and Wright, S. (eds). (2008) Understanding Inequality, Poverty And Wealth . Bristol: Policy Press. Journals Children and Poverty Critical Social Policy Global Social Policy International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy Journal of Poverty and Social Justice Journal of Social Policy Social Policy & Society

Transferrable Skills

Students following this module will develop the following transferable skills: -567 ability to present coherent, logical arguments using social sciences knowledge and analyses; -567 understanding of the processes of policy formation and implementation in the UK and international institutions; -567 i ndependent judgement in evaluating evidence and arguments relating to alternative policy proposals and measures; capacity to identify evidence requirements and design appropriate research activities; -567 capacity to locate, evaluate and deploy relevant evidence and on-line resources effectively; basic quantitative and qualitative data analysis skills; effective knowledge management; effective written and oral communication The module will be particularly relevant to students interested in working in organisations delivering welfare policies in the public, private or voluntary sectors.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 122.00
Assessment (FT) 44.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 22.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 70.00 35% Policy Evaluation
Course Work 02 n/a 30.00 35% Critical Review