GI414      Half Unit
Theorising Gender and Social Policy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ania Plomien, Tower 1.11.01F


This course is available on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in Population and Development, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning) and Master of Public Administration. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and theoretical tools that will allow them to critically engage with social policy issues and debates.  It begins with an overview of theoretical explanations for the structure and evolution of social policies in a wide range of settings. Feminist perspectives on welfare are explored, while notions of justice, citizenship and inequality are applied as analytic tools to critically examine social policy issues such as micro-credit, conditional cash transfers (CCT), parental leave policies, among others. The use of gender as a category of analysis is examined and attention is paid to the potentially modifying effects of categories such as race and class. Policy-making and political institutions are analysed, in part, to illustrate how assumptions (or aspirations) about gender roles and the form, function and responsibilities of the family are reflected in the framing, design, and evaluation of policies. The course also explores the gendered impact of socio-economic processes on labour market opportunities and inequalities in access to economic resources.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be a reading week in week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Group work:  Students will be asked to work as part of a group to discuss papers and prepare material (presentations, assessments of papers, answers to questions) in preparation for seminars.


Indicative reading

C L Bacchi, Analysing Policy: What's the Problem Represented to Be?, 2009; D Beland and R Mahon, Advanced Introduction to Social Policy, 2016; M Daly, Welfare, 2011; M Daly & K Rake, Gender and the Welfare State: Care, Work, and Welfare in Europe, 2003; N Folbre, Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family, 2008; J Hearn, E H Oleksy & D Golanska, The Limits of Gendered Citizenship: Contexts and Contradictions, 2010. M R A Lister, F Anttonen, A Bussemaker, and J Gerhard, Gendering Citizenship in Western Europe, Policy Press, 2007; R Mahon and F Robinson (Eds), The Global Political Economy of Care: Integrating Ethics and Social Politics, 2011; M Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, 2011; E Ruspini, J Hearn, B Pease, and K Pringle (Eds), Men and Masculinities Around the World: Transforming Men's Practices, 2011.


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 6.6
Merit 53.9
Pass 36.8
Fail 2.6

Key facts

Department: Gender Studies

Total students 2016/17: 17

Average class size 2016/17: 17

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication