In line with the general learning objectives of the Master's program, the course aims at providing students with the fundamental theoretical and analytical tools for the comparative study of welfare state development and reform. In doing so, the course will focus on cross-national and cross-regime comparisons of welfare state institutions, addressing both long-term transformations and recent developments with a twofold objective. First, the course will offer a comparative overview of welfare reforms seeking to respond to old and new post-industrial risks and needs. Second, building on theories of welfare state change and continuity, the course will examine the drivers of welfare state reform, shedding light on those institutional and political factors that enhance and/or constrain policy change.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the expected learning outcomes will be as follows: Knowledge and understanding: students are expected to acquire a basic knowledge and critical understanding of key topics in comparative welfare state research, including: the variety of welfare regimes; the political economy of European welfare capitalism; the new politics of the welfare state; the social investment turn. Applying knowledge and understanding: through the critical review of selected case studies, students will develop the ability to apply their knowledge and understanding to address contemporary empirical issues in the field of welfare state reform. Making judgements: students will be introduced to a plurality of perspectives as a way to improve their capacity to deal with different arguments and claims in a critical way. Communication skills: the course will develop students' ability to organize and communicate what they have learned, through group activities and class presentations. Learning skills: the course aims at strengthening student's analytical skills, training them to be autonomous in collecting, organizing, and presenting data and empirical evidence.
The course will address the following topics: - The welfare state in historical perspective: origins and development; - The welfare state in comparative perspective: welfare regimes and worlds of welfare; - The crisis of the welfare state: exogenous and endogenous determinants; - Contemporary challenges to the welfare state and welfare state change; - Social policy reform in key policy areas.
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge of welfare state research is needed. Nonetheless, students should be familiar with basic political science topics.
Teaching will consist of lectures and seminars. There is an emphasis placed on students' active participation in class discussions, based on assigned readings. Students will be required to work in small working groups; buzz groups, project groups.
A complete syllabus will be made available at the beginning of the course. The complete reading list will be available in the web pages of the course on Ariel.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students will be assessed according to the following criteria: Presentations, group activities and class discussion: 20% Written exam(s): 80% Written exams are mainly aimed at verifying the students' knowledge and understanding, and will be mostly based on open questions.