European Social Policies

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable.

Teaching Methods

The lectures will combine the expository method about the subjects of the syllabus of the curricular unit with participatory methods that stimulate an autonomous work by the students and the development of their analytical, communicational and teamwork skills. To this end students should develop and present a group work where they mobilize European information sources in the analysis of themes and challenges of European social policy.

Learning Outcomes

The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the debates on European integration, the policies, institutions and actors of the European governance of social policies and how it influences national policies.

Students should be aware of the evolution of European governance of social policies and able to relate it to the qualitative changes of the welfare state. They should identify the internal variety of the European social model and understand the interaction between European social policies and national welfare models, particularly in southern Europe. They should develop practical skills to mobilize sources of quantitative and qualitative information to reflect critically on the current challenges to the European social model.

Generally, the aim is to develop analytical and discursive competences related to the field of European social policies and their current challenges as well as students capacity for argumentation and collaboration. 

Work Placement(s)



1. The Welfare State and Social Policies

From emergency to criticism and crisis of the welfare state

From the welfare state to the social investment state

Welfare mixes and third sector


2. The social dimension of European integration

From the European Communities to the European Union

The European institutions and the production of social policies

The institutional frameworks of the European social model

Governance of European social policy

Social and civic dialogue


3. Variety in the European social model

Social policies and social protection regimes

The welfare state in Southern Europe

Problems and social policies in Portugal: the Portuguese social model

From policies to indicators: social information in the European Union


4. Old and new themes and challenges in European social policy

Combating poverty and social exclusion

Employment, unemployment and precariousness

Equality between women and men

Aging and dependency

Climate change and vulnerability

Migrations and citizenship.

Head Lecturer(s)

Sílvia Maria Dias Ferreira

Assessment Methods

Periodic or by final exam as given in the course information: 100.0%


Carmo, R.M., (org.) Desigualdades sociais 2010: estudos e indicadores, Lisboa: Mundos Sociais, 2010.

Carreira da Silva, F. (org.), Os Portugueses e o Estado-Providência. Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2013

Comissão Europeia, Social Protection Committee Annual Report, Bruxelas: DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, 2018

Kennett, P. e Lendvai-Bainton, N. (orgs), Handbook of European Social Policy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2018

Nugent, N., The government and politics of the European Union, 8th ed., Basingstoke : Palgrave  Macmillan

Pierson, C., Castles F.G. e Naumann, I.K. (orgs),The Welfare State Reader, Cambridge: Polity Press

Reis, J. (org.) A Economia Política do Retrocesso - Crise, Causas e Objetivos - Observatório sobre Crises e Alternativas. Coimbra: CES/Almedina, 2014

Taylor-Gooby, P., Leruth, B. e Chung, H. (orgs.) After Austerity: Welfare State Transformation in Europe after the Great Recession, Oxford. OUP, 2018.