[ 929CACSWSTK20 ] KS Welfare State Theories

Workload Education level Study areas Responsible person Hours per week Coordinating university
5 ECTS M1 - Master's programme 1. year Social Science Tobias Wiß 2 hpw Johannes Kepler University Linz
Detailed information
Original study plan Master's programme Joint Master's Degree Programme in Comparative Social Policy and Welfare 2020W
Objectives This course enables students to work with the terminology, empirical categoriza-tions, theoretical concepts, and explanatory approaches of comparative and European welfare state development at an advanced level. After completing the course, students will be equipped with conceptual knowledge and argumentative skills necessary for advanced research of welfare systems.
Subject The course is intended to introduce students to major theoretical perspectives that can contribute to the explanation of the emergence of the welfare state and social policy reforms. It looks at the institutional manifestations of different principles and briefly revisits welfare state typologies as a major approach in comparative welfare state analysis, their promise, underlying theoretical ideas, and the potential hazards of this kind of theorizing.

The following explanatory theories are applied to real world social policy reforms over time and across countries:

  • Functionalism and explanations based on socio-economic trends (e.g. industrialisation and de-industrialisation, demographic changes)
  • Interests and conflicts: power resource approaches and partisan politics theory
  • Institutionalism and its various strands: institutional self-interest and top-down social policy-making, veto points and veto players, path dependency
  • Ideational analysis in welfare state studies: the role of ideas and culture
  • Policy transfer and diffusion
  • Europeanisation

We will take a look at the main arguments as well as differences and similarities. Students are enabled to understand the main debates in the field and to gain in-depth insights in different families of theoretical explanations. In addition, the course aims to provide students with a theoretical toolbox to which they can refer in their own research.

Criteria for evaluation Active participation during the Intensive Programme, several small written assignments
Methods Introduction during the Intensive Programme at the beginning of the semester, afterwards distance learning methods supported by Moodle.
Language English
Study material Readings are provided by the instructor.
Changing subject? No
On-site course
Maximum number of participants 30
Assignment procedure Assignment according to priority