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Archived Curricula Guide 2017–2019
Curricula Guide is archieved. Please refer to current Curricula Guides
COSOPC2 Welfare State Theories 5 ECTS
Organised by
MDP in Comparative Social Policy and Welfare
Person in charge
Corresponding course units in the curriculum
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Curricula 2015 – 2017
COSOPC2 Welfare State Theories 5 ECTS

Learning outcomes

This course enables students to work with the terminology, empirical categorizations, theoretical concepts, and explanatory approaches of comparative and European welfare state development at an advanced level.
After completing the course, students will be equipped with conceptual knowledge and argumentative skills necessary for advanced research of welfare systems.


The class first discusses core values of modern welfare states and key concepts facilitating descriptive comparisons. It then looks at the institutional manifestations of these different principles and briefly revisits welfare state typologies as major approach in comparative welfare state analysis, their promise, underlying theoretical ideas, and the potential hazards of this kind of theorizing. Then it turns to explanations of welfare state development and differences among modern welfare regimes.
Explanatory theories in the comparative welfare state literature:
1. Functionalism and explanations in terms of the great socio-economic trends (Modernization, Industrialization and Deindustrialization, Globalization, Demographic Change)
2. Interests and conflicts: Power Resource approaches and theories about partisan public policy
3. Institutionalism and its various strands: Institutional self-interest and top-down social policy-making, veto points and veto players, varieties of welfare capitalism, retrenchment and path dependency
4. Ideational analysis in welfare state studies: The role of ideas, culture, religion, and ideology
5. "Varieties of Welfare Capitalism" as modern Political-Economy approach in the comparative welfare state literature
6. The role of the state in the welfare state, and social policy as a tool for social discipline

Teaching language


Modes of study

Option 1
Available for:
  • Degree Programme Students
  • Other Students
  • Open University Students
  • Doctoral Students
  • Exchange Students
Participation in course work 
In English

Introductory classroom session during the Intensive Programme in Tampere at the beginning of the semester; then methods of distance learning: Independent reading, exercises and discussion of students' observations in discussion forums, individual tutoring, supported by Moodle.


Numeric 1-5.

Belongs to following study modules

Archived Teaching Schedule. Please refer to current Teaching Shedule.
Faculty of Social Sciences