SA4D5      Half Unit
Social Rights and Human Welfare

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Polly Vizard 32LIF3.28


This course is available on the MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning), MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course will examine the basis of social or welfare rights as a component of human rights. It will situate social/welfare rights in an historical and comparative context and explore a range of debates concerning the relevance and effectiveness of a rights based approach to poverty alleviation and social welfare provision, both in the developed and the developing world. It will address the practical limitations of and the constraints upon social/welfare rights. Specifically, it will address: concepts of social rights and welfare citizenship; human needs and human rights; social/welfare rights in global context; critiques of social/welfare rights as human rights; the scope and substance of social/welfare rights; social/welfare rights and mechanisms of redress; rights based approaches to poverty alleviation; social development and social/welfare rights; constitutional instruments and social/welfare rights; human rights and the ethics of welfare.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Indicative reading

This reading list is indicative only - a detailed list will be provided at the start of the session: H Dean, Understanding Human Need, The Policy Press, 2010; H Dean, Welfare Rights and Social Policy, Prentice Hall (2002); A Eide, et al (Eds), Economic, Cultural and Social Rights: A textbook, Martinas Nijhaff (2001); P Hunt, Reclaiming Social Rights: International and comparative perspectives, Dartmouth (1996); B Turner, Vulnerability and Human Rights, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006; T Pogge (Ed), Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right, Oxford University Press, 2007; L Williams (Ed), International Poverty Law: An emerging discourse, CROP/Zed Books, 2006.


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 1500 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13.3
Merit 57.8
Pass 26.7
Fail 2.2

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2012/13: 15

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information