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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:

Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

All states distinguish between those activities that are best carried out on behalf of the people by the state, those that are best left to markets, and those that are most appropriately the responsibility of individuals, families and other civic organisations. In this module we examine the alternative views about where best to draw these lines, with a view to more fully comprehending the choices that face all governments and citizens.


The exposition is largely chronological. We begin with an introduction to the precepts of classical political economy, the challenges presented to these views by the development and growth of social democracy, and alternative explanations for the relationship between markets and welfare. We proceed by examining the historical development of welfare states in Europe, their growth and contraction and associated political movements and look at the impact of these on state administration. Towards the end of the module, we will attempt to apply the ideas and concepts that we have explored at a more general and European level specifically to the Irish case. We end with a series of contemporary Irish case studies which critically examine the most recent (alleged) ætransformationÆ of the Irish state.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

Define major national and European trends in governance and policy-making Identify key actors and institutions associated with the administration of state welfare Write clear accounts of developments in European welfare states and associated key political phenomena Associate key political ideas with political developments in the administration and politics of welfare states Identify important shifts in thinking about the division of responsibilities between state, society and markets for welfare provision, political development and economic growth Summarise debates about key issues in Irish politics, welfare provision, public administration

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

Acknowledge differences in political approaches to welfare provision and public administration Differentiate between alternative perspectives implicit in policy prescriptions Relate different theoretical approaches to alternative explanations of for dev

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

Organise seminars and mediate discussion fora

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The course is organised around two lectures per week, plus a weekly seminar which begins in week three. The purpose of each lecture is to provide an introductory overview to important topics and themes. The purpose of the seminar is to discuss these issues, so enhancing students' understanding of the topic. The structure and organisation of module contents and assessments is designed to develop a broad knowledge of the area and an active, responsive approach to reading. In order to facilitate this, the module will operate using the Sulis open learning system which contains a variety or module resources and reading material

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Adshead, Kirby, Millar (2008) Contesting the State: Lessons from the Irish case , Manchester University Press

Other Relevant Texts:

Cousins, Mel (2007) Welfare policy and poverty , Combat Poverty Agency

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:


Module Leader: