EPN

SIW4400 Understanding Citizens' Encounters with the Welfare State: Structures, Institutions and Actors Course description

Course name in Norwegian
Understanding Citizens' Encounters with the Welfare State: Structures, Institutions and Actors
Weight
10 ECTS
Year of study
2023/2024
Course history

Introduction

This course provides an overview of useful theoretical perspectives when analyzing citizens' encounters with the welfare state. The course will provide useful analytical concepts and frameworks for your Master's thesis. 

The course covers theories on individual agency, social networks, structural and functionalist explanatory models, social reproduction and social change, social construction and interactional processes. The theories will be applied on current issues in welfare society and in social policies. 

The course invites active discussions on how to apply select theories to analyze and interpret  phenomena within social welfare and health policy research.

Language of instruction is English.

Required preliminary courses

None.

Learning outcomes

A student who has completed his or her qualification has the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

Knowledge

The student has

  • advanced knowledge of social theories of institutions and actors
  • insight into how to critically assess these theories and their arguments
  • thorough knowledge of how the theories may be applied to research analysis
  • knowledge on of how to apply one or more of these theories in a Master's thesis

Skills

The student

  • is able to identify and discuss different social theories
  • can identify how practical research analysis may be conducted using these theories
  • can critically discuss the empirical implications of particular social theories

General Competence

The student

  • has achieved general competence for doing independent research
  • can contribute to innovative thinking and competence in transferring knowledge and skills to new areas
  • can apply social theories in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects

Content

The course covers theories on individual agency, social networks, structural and functionalist explanatory models, social reproduction and social change, social construction and interactional processes. The theories will be applied on current issues in welfare society and in social policies. 

In this course we acknowledges the diversity of experiences that people have in their encounters with social welfare. We address the importance of class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability and sexuality and the intersectionality of these factors for the distribution of life opportunities and resources. 

Current global challenges highlights the interdependencies between people and countries.  The complexity of globalization and sustainability are reflected on many levels of social life. In this course we discuss the impact of these challenges such as changing family structures and demographic aging, new ethnic diversity among households and care strategies, recognition of the needs and interests of persons with disabilities, lgbtq+ and religious minorities, as well as welfare systems and societies at large.  

Teaching and learning methods

The course will comprise a mix of lectures and active student involvement. Students will end the course with a paper and a presentation in which they discuss one of the theories covered in the curriculum. There will be a meeting set aside for student presentations.

Course requirements

The following coursework requirement must be completed and approved by the given deadline in order for the student to take the exam.

In order to take the exam students must deliver a written paper (6 pages, calibri, pt.12, 1,5 line spacing) as coursework requirement where they present and discuss one of the theories covered in the curriculum and present it in one of the two final meetings, with a feedback from lecturers and classmates.

If one or more coursework requirements have not been approved, the student will be given the opportunity to submit an improved version one time by the given deadline.

Assessment

The assessment consists of an individual six hour school exam. 

Permitted exam materials and equipment

English-English dictionary 

Grading scale

Grade scale A - F

Examiners

The exam papers are assessed by one internal and one external examiner.

A random selection consisting of at least 25% of the exam papers will be assessed by two examiners. The grades awarded for the papers assessed by two examiners form the basis for determining the level for all the exam papers.

Course contact person

Rune Halvorsen