University of Washington School of Public Health

Autumn Course 2017: Seminar in Contemporary Welfare Policy (Soc WL 552)


Social Welfare 552 Seminar in Contemporary Social Welfare Policy      

SLN Code: 21346

Credits: 3

Time: 8:30-11:20, SSW 125                       

Instructor: Gunnar Almgren, PhD (

Course Description

This graduate seminar provides a critical review of the philosophical and historical foundations of the American welfare state, related social welfare policies, and the economic, political, and social factors that affect their development, implementation, effectiveness, unintended consequences, and latent functions. Topics covered include:

Theories of Social Justice and the Universal Human Rights

The Structure and Functions of the Welfare State(s) in Comparative Perspective

Conceptualizations of Citizenship, the Nature of the Social Contract, and Welfare Rights

The Major Entitlements and Regulatory Functions of the American Welfare State

Welfare Capitalism: Labor, Capital and the Welfare State

Immigration, Economic Assimilation, and the Social Welfare Policy

The Welfare State as a Reflection and System of Stratification

Children and Social Welfare Policy

The Aged, Disabled and Social Welfare Policy

The Intergenerational Transmission of Relative Advantage and Social Welfare Policy

The Distribution of Health and Health Care and Social Welfare Policy

Indigenous Peoples and Social Welfare Policy

The Demography of the Family and Social Welfare Policy

Although this is a required seminar for doctoral students in social welfare, it is open to graduate students from other programs interested in exploring the theoretical and historical foundations of the American welfare state and its core social policies. Interested students, faculty and graduate advisers may contact Professor Gunnar Almgren (e-mail: