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Social Justice


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This short course, Social Justice, gives you the opportunity to explore issues of social and political justice focusing on ideas of welfare, poverty and the welfare state. We will investigate the American failure to constitutionalise welfare rights, and the thinking and activism of the National Welfare Rights Organization. Understanding the American context will take us to concerns with the New Deal and the War Against Poverty.

We will also examine the history and structure of the welfare state in Britain from 1945 until the present day. In order to capture the realities of poverty and welfare we will look at particular writings, including those by:

  • Jane Addams
  • John Dewey
  • Jack London
  • George Orwell.

We will also consider the movement of ideas across the Atlantic from the progressive era, through Reagan/Thatcher, Clinton/Blair to the present culture wars around poverty, immigration and role of the state.

On this course we begin by thinking about the extent to which social justice can be linked with ideas of political and economic democracy. As part of this we will consider existential and ethical questions about poverty, welfare and social activism - in particular their development by the New Left, the Critical Legal Studies movement and Christian and Jewish radical thinkers.

Later in the course we will address the extent to which it is possible to create and sustain a ‘progressive’ agenda for the future of welfare. We will examine the way in which thinking about poverty and welfare requires a particular conception of the relationship between law, ethics and social justice.

This postgraduate-level course is ideal if you have a professional or personal interest in the field of law. You will also find it of particular interest if you wish to enhance your career through Continuing Professional Development in this area.

This short course is assessed by a 4000-word essay.

30 credits at level 7

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.