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SOC 223 – Social Inequality and Social Policy

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convenor, main lecturer and tutor
Shaun Wilson
Contact via email
We have moved offices, room location TBA in week 1.
11am to 12pm Mondays or contact me by email.
Lecturer and tutor
Emma Mitchell
Contact via email
TBA
By appointment/email
Emma Mitchell
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
12cp at 100 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
What role does government have in addressing inequality between individuals and groups? If governments make things fairer, what incentives are there for hard work and individual effort? Is the welfare state in decline because of an ageing population, tight budgets and globalisation? Is Australia overly generous when it comes to social spending? Few areas in sociology are as contentious and vital as the ongoing debates about who should get social support and how it should be delivered. This unit offers a detailed introduction to the history, design and institutions of social policy and welfare states. Throughout we examine the role of the state in delivering social outcomes for citizens, including social justice, social equality and social efficiency outcomes. We look closely at the development of Australian social policy and consider how policymakers are dealing with problems like an ageing population, unemployment, poor families, and income inequality in a comparative context. We also consider how social policy in Australia and elsewhere is made, and how power and institutional dynamics shape policy outcomes. Through this we assess how different forms of social policy provide alternative views of what a society represents and values. The unit caters for students interested in policy practice, policy analysis, development studies and welfare state research.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the conceptual problems in measuring and evaluating social and economic inequality
  2. Understand the differences between poverty, inequality, injustice, and unfairness
  3. Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  4. Apply basic concepts of social policy to a range of contemporary welfare debates, dilemmas and problems
  5. Understand the dynamics that shape different trajectories of national welfare states and their social policies
  6. Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  7. Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area
  8. Understand the critical junctures between work (labour markets), families and social security systems.
  9. Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

General Assessment Information

There are two major assessment tasks in this course. Together they are designed to aid your learning, encourage you to engage with the course material and test your knowledge. We hope you find them enjoyable and interesting to complete.

The main assignment can be submitted via Turnitin.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Assignment 30% Wed 20 Sept 2017 at 11.55pm
Classwork 15% week 13
Exam 55% Exam period (end of semester)

Assignment

Due: Wed 20 Sept 2017 at 11.55pm
Weighting: 30%

This assignment involves answering 6 questions about inequality and social policy. You will have four weeks to complete the task.

The total word length for the assignment will be 2,000 words or around 300 words per question.

The assignments may require you to:

  • read a passage on social policy and discuss or interpret it
  • interpret statistical evidence
  • comment on, interpret, and discuss a policy document

The assignment will be available on ILearn on Monday 21 August.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the conceptual problems in measuring and evaluating social and economic inequality
  • Understand the differences between poverty, inequality, injustice, and unfairness
  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area

Classwork

Due: week 13
Weighting: 15%

You will be given a combined mark for attendance and class contributions.

Workbook contributions

You will need to submit your tutorial workbook contributions as part of this assessment.

They are submitted in class in week 13, and will be marked out of 5.

Participation in class (how to score well)

You need to attend a minimum of 80% of tutorials. In practical terms, this means attending a minimum of 9 of the 11 tutorials.

To get a high score (i.e. 8+ out of 10) for tutorial participation, you need to:

-- meet attendance requirements

-- do your readings

-- and participate thoughtfully and regularly in class.

 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the differences between poverty, inequality, injustice, and unfairness
  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Apply basic concepts of social policy to a range of contemporary welfare debates, dilemmas and problems
  • Understand the dynamics that shape different trajectories of national welfare states and their social policies
  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Understand the critical junctures between work (labour markets), families and social security systems.
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Exam

Due: Exam period (end of semester)
Weighting: 55%

An exam is the main assessment task for this unit. It will be held in the exam period that follows the end of semester.

You will have 2 hours plus reading time to complete:

-- 20 multiple questions (20 minutes in total)

-- 5 short answer questions (20 minutes each)

A detailed study guide plus practice papers are made available to help ensure stress-free preparation for this exam.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the conceptual problems in measuring and evaluating social and economic inequality
  • Understand the differences between poverty, inequality, injustice, and unfairness
  • Apply basic concepts of social policy to a range of contemporary welfare debates, dilemmas and problems
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Delivery and Resources

Lectures will be on Mondays 8 am to 10 am. The classroom is: E7B T2.

Lectures will be recorded.

Tutorials start in week 2.

All teaching materials (articles, book chapters, etc) will be available on SOC 223 e-reserve.

There are two recommended (but not compulsory) texts, which Shaun will cover in week 1's lecture.

Unit Schedule

Week Lecture topic Workshop topic    
1 - Jul 31 Introduction to social policy No workshop SW  
2 - Aug 7 Social risks, social policy Social risks over the life-course SW  
3 -  Aug 14 Poverty and homelessness Why are people poor? SW  
4 - Aug 21 The dynamics of inequality New Census data, inequality and social planning SW  
5 - Aug 28 Social class Does class matter today? SW  
6 - Sep 4 Australia's welfare state Young people and the politics of welfare SW  
7 - Sep 11 The Nordic model versus the USA Debating individual responsibility SW  
  mid semester break assignment due Weds 20 Sept, returned Mon 9 Oct    
8 - Oct 2

Classifying welfare states - recorded lecture only

(this Monday is a public holiday)

No tutorial this week - public holiday SW  
9 - Oct 9 Precarious work and workfare Is Newstart too low? SW  
10 - Oct 16 Indigenous Australians and social policy A look at the Closing the Gap scorecard Emma Mitchell  
11 - Oct 23 Women, work & welfare A look at the National Disability Insurance Scheme SW  
12 - Oct 30 Health & Medicare A look at the relationship between inequality and health SW  
13 - Nov 6

Ageing and social policy/ unit wrap

Exam preparation plus release of study guide SW  
 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Apply basic concepts of social policy to a range of contemporary welfare debates, dilemmas and problems
  • Understand the dynamics that shape different trajectories of national welfare states and their social policies
  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment
  • Classwork
  • Exam

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment
  • Classwork

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Assessment task

  • Classwork

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the conceptual problems in measuring and evaluating social and economic inequality
  • Understand the differences between poverty, inequality, injustice, and unfairness
  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Apply basic concepts of social policy to a range of contemporary welfare debates, dilemmas and problems
  • Understand the dynamics that shape different trajectories of national welfare states and their social policies
  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area
  • Understand the critical junctures between work (labour markets), families and social security systems.
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment
  • Classwork
  • Exam

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the conceptual problems in measuring and evaluating social and economic inequality
  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Apply basic concepts of social policy to a range of contemporary welfare debates, dilemmas and problems
  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment
  • Classwork

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment
  • Classwork
  • Exam

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand why societies tolerate certain levels and types of inequality, poverty and injustice.
  • Assess and analyse future problems confronting welfare states and the design of social policy
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Assessment task

  • Classwork

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area
  • Gain basic understanding of key areas of Australian social policy: health & Medicare, housing, unemployment (welfare-to-work) programs, disability support, family payments, parental leave and childcare, superannuation and retirement.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment
  • Classwork

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Develop skills in critical policy analysis and styles of policy writing relevant to professional work in the area

Assessment task

  • Assignment

Changes from Previous Offering

This year, we will look closely at changing definitions and debates about social class.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
01/08/2017 Monday 2 October is a public holiday. I did not check this. The lecture for that Monday will be recorded, and the tutorial for that day will be moved to the previous week (week 7) where there was a vacant spot. thank you, Shaun