The course provides students with the tools for the political understanding of recent transformation of the welfare state in terms of social innovation and welfare mix. For almost three decades, European countries have been striving to reform their social models, tailored on increasingly surpassed economic, socio-demographic and cultural structures. Reforms introduced at the national level, largely focused on the large programs of social protection, do not exhaust the array of ongoing transformations. In order to understand the breadth and nature of changes, this course moves beyond the perimeter of the public sector, directing attention towards recent developments in the market as well as in the third sector and civil society, and especially towards those new forms of intertwinement, collaboration and synergy that have been emerging between these two spheres (and often between them and the public sector) in welfare provision.
Expected learning outcomes
Students who attend the course will be able to address the issue of why different countries implement different social measures and policies, especially in times of crisis and in terms of social innovation; explore important concepts in the field of comparative social policy, including social citizenship, risk sharing, de-commodification, welfare mix, public-private partnership, social innovation, social investment; examine the forces driving welfare regimes' development in Western nations; analyze contemporary policy issues affecting Western welfare states, including globalization, demographic aging, labor market instability, gender equality, vulnerability and social exclusion, migration, populism; envisage the social and economic consequences of processes of welfare state crisis and the emergence of the "second welfare" paradigm; identify different approaches to explaining institutional variety in advanced welfare systems; examine the relevance of tools and frameworks for the study of Western welfare states and their recent transformation.
Lesson period: Second trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The course provides students with the tools for the political understanding of recent transformation of the welfare state in terms of social innovation and welfare mix For almost three decades, European countries have been striving to reform their social models, tailored on increasingly surpassed economic, socio-demographic and cultural structures. Reforms introduced at the national level, largely focused on the big programs of social protection, do not exhaust the array of ongoing transformations. In order to capture the breadth and nature of these changes, this course moves beyond the perimeter of the public sector, directing attention towards developments in the market as well as in the third sector and civil society, and especially towards those new forms of intertwinement, collaboration and synergy that have been emerging between these two spheres (and often between them and the public sector) in welfare provision
This course focuses on "poorly visible" forms of social innovation and welfare mix initiatives and projects, and describes recent achievements in some selected European countries. Firstly, the course illustrates some analytical distinctions and clarifications on the notion of welfare state, social innovation, social investment, welfare mix and "secondo welfare" (for denoting the array of non-public welfare provisions which have been expanding in the last decade, the Italian debate has recently coined a new label: "second welfare", a notion that is very much connected with the discussion on social innovation and the future of social policy at the EU level). Secondly, the course will illustrate some emerging trends as well as emblematic initiatives and projects within the European countries. Thirdly, the course will highlight problems, risks, and prospects of such trends.
More specifically, the following topics will be analyzed: - Welfare state: basic concepts and short introduction on recent reforms - Social innovation: theory and concepts - Second welfare and welfare mix: concepts and nexus - Social innovation and welfare state: searching for empirical evidences in selected countries - Welfare state and social innovation: future perspectives.
Prerequisites for admission
In order to better understand the content of this course, students should be familiar with the basic concepts of political science.
This is an interactive course, which envisages active participation on the part of the students.
Students, in order to be enrolled as "attending" (frequentanti), have to attend at least 80% of classes (16 out of 20 classes). Those who cannot attend, or fail to regularly attend classes, are considered as "non attendant students".
Non GPS students are encouraged to attend classes but they are not obliged to. They can opt for the "non attending students" program (programma per non frequentanti)
By attending classes, students take on the obligation to: do all the readings in advance and come to class prepared to discuss; actively participate in class discussions; take the moderator role in discussions when requested; make presentations when required The instructor reserves the right to call on less active students and gently encourage them to participate and share their thoughts.
A complete syllabus will be made available at the beginning of the course. A detailed reading list for attendant students will be made available weekly on the course website (on Ariel). The "weekly syllabus" will include a list of readings sub-divided for each topic/teaching week. Detailed readings for "non attendant students" will be made available by mid-January 2021.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Attendant students: The assessment will be based on: participation in class debates and discussion; presentations in class and acting as a scheduled discussant; final (written) exam on some articles listed by the instructor on the course website. The grading system towards the final mark is the following: - discussion questions and class participation: 20% - presentations in class and acting as a scheduled discussant: 40% - final (written) exam: 40%.
Non attendant students: The assessment will be based on a discussion in English (oral exam) around some articles listed by the instructor on the course website and 2 short research papers (3.500 words each) on specific topic to be agreed upon with the instructor. These papers are for developing student's interest in a particular area of welfare state and social innovation. One paper should be a literature review and the other should examine a case of social innovation in comparative perspective. Everyone should contact and/or meet the instructor to define and discuss both topics. Students who cannot attend classes are kindly requested to contact the instructor at their earliest convenience, and in any case well in advance respect to the exam date. The two research papers are due at least 2 weeks before the oral exam date. The grading system towards the final mark is the following: - two research papers: 30% each - oral exam: 40%.
The instructor reserves the right to modify the assessment system on particular occasions, keeping the syllabus constant.