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Irish Social Policy I

Module Code: SSU22010 (Old Code SS2767)

Module Name: Irish Social Policy I

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/ Term Taught: Michaelmas and Hilary Term
  • Contact hours: MT component delivered online and 1 Tutorial. Hilary Term component 2 x 1 hour lecture per week
  • Module Personnel: Dr Louise Caffrey and Professor Eoin O'Sullivan

Michaelmas Term - Critical Analysis & Argument Development (5 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
LO1. Recall definitions of key concepts including critical analysis, academic argument and theoretical framework;
LO2. Identify competing perspectives on social policy issues
LO3. Critically evaluate competing explanations using an evidence-informed approach
LO4. Develop balanced arguments on social policy issues
LO5. Recall knowledge on key social policy debates including, the changing context of work, social security, the gender pay gap and the social determinants of health

Module Overview and Content

This component of the module aims to develop students’ core social policy skills, including critical analysis, argument development and the use of an evidence-informed approach. The module introduces students to key social policy issues including the changing context of work and employment, social security, the gender pay gap. Students are challenged to practice and develop the skills they have learnt by engaging critically with these topics. Students are supported to critically appraise how explanations of and solutions to social issues may be influenced by analysis of evidence and competing perspectives

Recommended Reading List

Cottrell, S. (2011). Critical thinking skills: Developing effective analysis and argument. Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan. (Available as an e-book).
Greetham, B. (2013). How to write better essays. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
European Commission (2009). Gender segregation in the labour market: Root causes, implications and policy responses in the EU. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union
Standing, G. (2011) The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. London: Bloomsbury.


Hilary Term - Housing Policy (5 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this section of the module students will be able to:

  • have a clear understanding of why and in what fashion governments intervene in the housing market, and to what effect.

  • have a good understanding of the operation of the housing system and the role played by different housing tenures

  • be equipped to assess the impact of housing policy initiatives.

  • have a comprehensive understanding of a number of topical issues in housing policy.

  • have a thorough understanding of the causes, nature and extent of homelessness.

Module Overview and Content

This section of the module will provide a comprehensive introduction to housing and homelessness policy in Ireland.

Module content will include the addressing following:

  • What is housing policy?
  • Why do governments intervene in the housing market?
  • What is housing tenure, what are the differences between different tenures, and why does it matter?
  • What theoretical approaches are there to housing policy?
  • Why did house prices rise so quickly, only to fall again?
  • Has the Local Property Tax been a success or a failure?
  • What can be done about mortgage arrears?
  • What is Nama?
  • What is the housing experience of minority ethnic households in Ireland?
  • Have government housing policy objectives been achieved?
  • What theoretical explanations are there for the nature and extent of homelessness?
  • How have homeless services changed during the last 20 years?
  • What are the key current homelessness policy issues?

Assessment Details

Michaelmas Term: Development of two learning journal entries (45%) & Complete 10 learning journal tasks (5%)

Hilary Term: Essay worth 50% of overall module

A penalty of 10% will be applied to students who submit essays late without an authorised extension.