SOCPY100-18A (HAM)

Introduction to Social Policy

15 Points

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Division of Arts, Social Sciences and Law
School of Social Sciences
Social Policy


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Paper Description

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This first semester paper provides a fundamental understanding of the core theories that underpin social policy and examines how these are expressed in the practice of social policy. The paper content is global in scope, but has a focus on Western, industrialised societies. Attention is given to the role of values and choices in social policy and the ways in which these are reflected in a range of political ideologies. The discussions of key theories and concepts are linked to real life circumstances and specific social policy issues. This is given practical expression through the contributions of guest lecturers from time to time. These guests provide insights into how social policies impact on real people in real world situations and how policy is operationalised on the front line.
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Paper Structure

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The course uses the required text by Robert Drake as a framework for the course structure. Lectures corresponding to chapters of the book are interspersed with lectures on specific policy topics, such as poverty, health, and ethnicity. The second term introduces students to the main approaches to (or models of) welfare/wellbeing used in modern democracies and provides further policy topics as examples of the different approaches - housing and youth, for example.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:
    • Display a good knowledge of the history of social policy in developed democracies, with an emphasis on New Zealand;
    • Identify the key parameters of social policy in developed democracies;
    • Understand the basic theories and concepts employed in the social policy arena;
    • Articulate selected contemporary social policy issues and debates in New Zealand and internationally;
    • Identify social problems and how they are defined;
    • Analyse and evaluate policy responses;
    • Understand the structures, institutions and processes which are characteristic of modern society;
    • Demonstrate independent research skills, including library and internet research;
    • Show enhanced competence in written assessments;
    • Confidently approach further study in social policy, using the solid grounding provided by this paper;
    • Engage with the emphasis on New Zealand social policy that is the focus of the second year paper.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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There are no tricks to passing this course. You will always receive good information about the content of your assessments in time to help you focus on your study on the relevant topics. I will also give hints in class about items that are likely to crop up in tests or the exam, so it pays to attend class regularly.

You may not submit assignments (or parts of assignments) for this paper that you have submitted for another paper. If you are repeating this course, you may not submit work previously submitted for the paper.

A high standard of writing is expected for all written assessments. Writing does not come easily to everyone, but in order to make your way in the world of academia and the workplace when you leave the University of Waikato, it is important to develop the skills to write clearly and succinctly without spelling or typographical errors.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 67:33. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 33% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 67:33 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 33% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Test one
20 Mar 2018
9:00 AM
  • In Class: In Lecture
2. Test two
1 May 2018
9:00 AM
  • Hand-in: In Lecture
3. Essay
24 May 2018
4:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
  • Hand-In: Faculty Information Centre (J Block)
4. Tutorial participation
5. Examination
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Drake, R. (2003+) The principles of social policy. Palgrave: Basingstoke.

This book provides an excellent grounding in the concepts which underpin social policies and their influence within particular political ideologies. It is not necessary to get the 2003 edition; any edition will be fine.

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Recommended Readings

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Alcock et al, (2003). The student's companion to social policy. Blackwell: Oxford.
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Other Resources

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Additional resources will be available through links on Moodle and we are continuously developing a Waikato Reading List for this paper.
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Online Support

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This paper is supported on Moodle with lecture notes, a range of internet resources, assessment guidelines, and links to extra resources in relevant topic areas.
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This paper has close to 40 hours of class contact time in total. Normally, there are 2 hours of lectures per week and a further hour for tutorial work. Successful completion of the paper will require a further 80 hours of self-directed study. You are urged to attend all lectures and scheduled tutorials.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper is a core paper for Social Policy majors and bridges students into the second-year SOCPY papers. It is a required paper for Social Work majors in Tauranga,. This paper also sits well with papers or majors in Labour Studies, Sociology, and Women's and Gender Studies.
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Restricted papers: SOCP102

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