Foundations of Social Policy

Subject SOCI90002 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 11-May-2015
Assessment Period End 25-May-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 16-Mar-2015
Census Date 20-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 24-Apr-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 4 hours of seminars per week in Weeks 1 – 6 of Semester 1. Plus full day workshops scheduled throughout Semester 1.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 340 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Sociology or Public Policy at Undergraduate level

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Paul Smyth


Prof. Paul Smyth

Subject Overview:

The subject engages with contemporary theories of social inclusion and capital with an emphasis on networks and their role in community strengthening, community building and regional economic development. The subject also engages in the role these strategies have in larger projects of social policy reform such as the Third Way, the Partnership movement and "joined-up" government. The subject will engage in specific social policy issues (health, housing, welfare, employment etc) as a means to investigate the use of social capital and network analysis techniques.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • understand the theories of social inclusion and social capital formation as they apply to social policy issues in income support, employment, health, education, culture, housing and community care;
  • understand social and economic development as an integrated process from the perspective of both the social policy literature and the development literature;
  • understand the analytical implications of different social policy frameworks such as social inclusion and social capital;
  • understand the theories and strategies of 'joined up' government and the role of networks in social governance;
  • have a sound understanding of the use of comparative perspectives.

An essay of 2000 words (20%) due in week 3, take home paper of 3000 words based on weekly seminar material (30%) due in week 6, and a 5000 word project (50%) due in mid-May.

Hurdle Requirement: As this is an Intensively-taught subject, there is a 100% seminar attendance requirement. Regular participation in class is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A key text will be available.

Recommended Texts:
  • Mark Considine, Enterprising states: The public management of welfare to work, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • R,E Goodin (ed) The theory of institutional design, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • Jan Kooiman (ed) Modern Governance: New Government-Society Interactions, Sage, 1993.
  • Robert Putnam, Making Democracy work, Princeton University Press, 1993.
  • Steven Smith and Michael Lipsky, Non-profits for Hire: The welfare state in the age of contracting, Camb. Mass., Harvard University Press, 1993 K. Walsh Public services and Market Mechanisms: Competition, Contracting and the new public management, Houndsmills, Macmillan, 1995
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have developed research skills, through the competent use of library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research;
  • have developed an understanding of the social, ethical and cultural contexts of research;
  • have developed critical thinking and analysis skills, through recommended READING, essay writing, and seminar discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • have developed skills in written and oral communication, time management and planning, and group work, through completion of course requirements;
  • have developed the capacity to think in theoretical terms, through class requirements and engagement with theories and methods of the social sciences;
  • have developed the capacity to think creatively, through course work and course discussion, and by critical analysis of competing arguments.
Related Course(s): Master of Arts (Policy Studies)(Advanced Seminars & Shorter Thesis)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
150 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
200 Point Master of Development Studies (Gender && Development)
Gender and Development Specialisation - 100 Point Program
Gender and Development Specialisation - 150 Point Program
Gender and Development Specialisation - 200 Point Program
Governance, Policy and Communication
Governance, Policy and Communication
Policy Studies
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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