The unit provides an opportunity for students to develop and apply the skills of policy analysis and critique to current 'real world' policy issues. It focuses on the role of social policy in reshaping the everyday lives of ordinary citizens, social identities and the nation-state in these uncertain times. A key concern explored is the way in which neo-liberal conceptions of the social world are shifting the policy debates away from the 'public' citizen to that of the 'self-governing' private individual. Utilising insights from contemporary theories about how we are governed through a range of institutions, social networks and governmental strategies, the unit explores the 'invented' character of various policy debates from selected fields such as immigration, multiculturalism, education, health, employment, urban planning and emerging themes. Through these case studies, attention is directed to the categorisation of individuals and the processes through which they are treated as objects and objectives of government and how social identities become attached to specific social policy formulations.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Appraise contemporary debates about social policy and civic life;  
  2. Critically review the ways in which contemporary forms of governance are reshaping key social policy areas; and  
  3. Interrogate key social policy documents by placing these with broader social contexts.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Review Analyse key concepts in policy analysis 25%
Case Study Contextualize a selected policy within a broader policy 45%
Exercise Response to questions 30%

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