Theoretical Perspectives in Social Policy Print

ΚKΠ17 - Theoretical Perspectives in Social Policy

Tutor: Andreas Feronas

Semester: 6th
ECTS: 4.5

Short Description:

This course aims to familiarise students with the basic theories and concepts in social policy and the welfare state. It critically examines theoretical approaches such as Liberalism, Marxism, Social Democracy, neo-Liberalism, neo-Marxism, the "third way", post-modernism, etc., as well as approaches from the perspective of social movements, especially the feminist, antiracist and ecological ones. The core arguments developed in the course is that: (a) theories are often intertwined with ideological and political interpretations of the nature and role of social policy and the welfare state in modern societies and (b) knowledge of theories is a prerequisite for a better understanding of political processes and political dialogue that develops around these issues, as well as in the practical implementation of social policies.


To enable students to:

  • Understand the frameworks, concepts and language of social policy;
  • Develop an understanding of the links between social policy theory, ideology, policy and practice;
  • Explore different perspectives on social policy and their implications for understanding and addressing major social problems in society

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course students should be able:

  • To demonstrate an analysis of key theoretical and ideological perspectives on social policy
  • To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses between the different perspectives in modern social policy
  • To understand the links between social policy theory, values, policy and practice


13 three-hour lectures.


Written examination. The students may improve their final grade by up to 2 points writing an essay of 1500 words max.


Alcock, P., May, M. and Rowlingson, K. (eds.) (2008), The Student’s Companion to Social Policy, Oxford, Blacwell, UK.
George, V. and Wilding, P. (1994), Welfare and Ideology, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Lavallete, M. and Pratt, A. (2005), Social Policy. Theories, Concepts and Issues, SAGE Publication, UK.
Lister, R. (2010), Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy, Policy Press, Bristol, UK.
Stasinopoulou, O. (2000), Welfare State. Historical Evolution – Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives, Gutenberg, Athens