General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Welfare Sociology
Language English
Module lecturer dr Mariusz Baranowski
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Assistant Professor
Faculty Faculty of Sociology
Semester 2023/2024 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 24-PIE-WES


Module aim (aims)

The essential aim of the course is to deliver the following:

(i) describe and explain key concepts in the study of social welfare,

(ii) describe contemporary legitimacy challenges facing social welfare,

(iii) critically examine, analyse, and evaluate how different welfare regimes and welfare arrangements can provide ‘welfare’ and ‘well-being’.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)



This course introduces the student to the theory and literature on an emerging subdiscipline called ‘welfare sociology’. The theoretical foundations of welfare sociology will be discussed (distinguishing between welfare and social well-being) as well as its practical consequences (e.g. in terms of labour relations, education or health). The issues of associations and social diversity within different social security systems will be addressed in the context of other research methodologies and various welfare indicators. The perspective of sociologically understood welfare will be compared with the cultural determinants of contemporary consumption trends, as well as phenomena such as sharing and social economy. The issues of basic income, job guarantee, and natural environment will play a vital role in the whole course.

Detailed topics within lecture classes:

Different approaches towards the concept of ‘welfare’    

Social welfare versus individual well-being

Social welfare in the light of topic modelling      

Theoretical foundations of welfare sociology

Welfare state sociology compared to other social sciences

Social justice and inequality

Postgrowth/degrowth and welfare 

Welfare in far-reaching social change                                       

Radical welfare state change: Unconditional Basic Income (theory)         

Radical welfare state change: Unconditional Basic Income (practice)     

Radical welfare state change: Employment Guarantee Programs (theory)          

Radical welfare state change: Employment Guarantee Programs (practice)

Reading list

Baranowski, M. (2022). Nature-Based Social Welfare and Socially Responsible Consumption: Is Circular Economy a Viable Solution? In: Bhattacharyya, Jishnu (ed). Dealing with Socially Responsible Consumers: Studies in Marketing. Singapore: Springer Nature.

Baranowski, M. (2021). The Sharing Economy: Social Welfare in a Technologically Networked Economy. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 41(1): 20–30.

Baranowski, M., Jabkowski, Piotr. (2021). Basic Income Support in Europe: A Cross-National Analysis Based on the European Social Survey Round 8. Economics & Sociology 14(2): 167-183. DOI: 10.14254/2071-789X.2021/14-2/9

Baranowski, M., Cichocki, P. (2021). Good and bad sociology: does topic modeling make a difference? Society Register 5(4): 7–22.

Baranowski, M. (2020). A contribution to the critique of worthless education: between critical pedagogy and welfare sociology. Globalisation, Societies and Education 18(4): 391–405.

Baranowski, M. (2019). The Struggle for Social Welfare: Towards An Emerging Welfare Sociology. Society Register 3(2): 7–19.

Baranowski, M. (2017). Welfare sociology in our times. How social, political, and economic uncertainties shape contemporary societies. Przegląd Socjologiczny 66(4): 9–26.

Harvey, P. (2013). More for less: the job guarantee strategy. Basic Income Studies 7(2): 3–18.

Sartorius, Ch. (2005). An Evolutionary Approach to Social Welfare. London-New York: Routledge.

Smith, T. S. J., Baranowski, M., Schmid, B. (2021). Intentional degrowth and its unintended consequences: Uneven journeys towards post-growth transformations. Ecological Economics 190: 107215.

Spicker, P. (2000). The Welfare State. A General Theory. London: SAGE Publications.

Standing, G. (2014). A precariat charter. From denizens to citizens. London-New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Taylor, D. (2011). Wellbeing and welfare: A psychosocial analysis of being well and doing well enought. Journal of Social Policy 40: 777-794. doi:10.1017/S0047279411000249

Therborn, G. (2013). The killing fields of inequality. Cambridge: Polity Press. 

Widerquist, K. (2013). Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income. A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ziółkowski, M., Baranowski, M., Drozdowski, R. (2020). On the Multiple Varieties, Consequences and Paradoxes of the Commodification of Nature. Polish Sociological Review 211(3): 281–300.