cod. 1003006

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Sociologia dei processi culturali e comunicativi (SPS/08)
Discipline sociologiche
Type of training activity
36 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

With regard to knowledge and understanding (descriptor 1) The course aims at the acquisition of a historical view (time evolution of welfare systems) and comparative (understanding the Italian social policies in comparison to others) because these approaches help the student in place the regulatory framework of social policies within a more complex socio-political scenario.
With regard to understanding applied to their future professional reality (descriptor 2), the course aims to contextualize the concepts learned on social policies with respect to operative procedures of the service through testimonies (seminars with experts, watching movies and debate) in order to enable the student to carry out a continuous shift between macro levels (strands of policy, institutional, normative dimensions) and micro levels (tools of the social worker, conflicts with users etc..).

The course is also particularly interested in the development of autonomy of judgement with regard to the topics dealt with (descriptor 3) and in this sense it aims to provide tools for direct observation (opportunities for dialogue with different social actors) which facilitate the empirical analysis of local forms of social policies. In this sense, much space is given to experiential teaching (participatory teaching, meetings with witnesses, discussions) and collective reflections.



Course unit content

The course deals with the evolution of the modern welfare state from a comparative point of view (looking at different European countries) and from an evolutionary point of view (looking specifically at the historical moments of change, particularly during the twentieth century, with respect to the changing balance between the State and the Market), and then analyses the latest and most recent transformations linked to increasing precariousness and other dimensions of global social change that are increasing social inequalities. Starting from this analytical approach to the history of the European welfare state, the course explores aspects of specific social policies: income support and labour policies; reception policies for asylum seekers; integration and intercultural interaction policies; gender policies; prison policies; social housing policies.

Full programme

The course is divided into 3 phases:
the first part explores normative and operational models that mark the birth and evolution of different European welfare systems, and then deals with the crisis of complexity - fiscal, political, operational - of the late 20th century, the contraction of the welfare state and the increase in inequality;
in the second part, some specific issues are dealt with (the specific fields of social policies already mentioned);
in the third part, possible scenarios of the future of European welfare are addressed (visions and transitions applied to the welfare state are explored with respect to the tensions between local scenarios and national dimensions, to techno-bureaucracy, to citizen participation), comparing different possible solutions of welfare mix, community and participative welfare.


The course is based on two types of materials:

a) The lecture notes of the course (ed. by the teacher) (about 60 pp.);

b) Chapters and essays on social policies.

Teaching methods

The course is set to 3 different types of lessons suitable for a large number of students:
1. Theoretical lectures conducted by the teacher with final debate centered on 'keywords' (students brainstorming on the concepts exposed by the teacher and exchange of views and \ or questions);

2. Seminars with expert guests: the lectures are interspersed with workshops conducted in co-presence with witnesses and \ or experts of social policies in which students can ask questions after an initial short exposure. Experts usually are chosen not only for specific expertise but for capacity to stimulate critical of the current challenges of the welfare and innovative strands.

3. Outreach Methods (Migrantour): During the course, students are introduced to the method of participant observation of urban context (outreach methodologies) in particular with the accompaniment of migrant guides.
Other moments of situated exploration of contexts (e.g. in prisons, etc.) are planned.

Assessment methods and criteria

• The verification of the course is as follows:

1 Final oral test based primarily on lecture notes, chapters of books, materials provided by the invited experts as witnesses to the seminars.

Students will be informed on these assessment criteria at the beginning of the course.

Other information

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