Department of Comparative Politics

Course feature on work and the welfare state

What challenges does the welfare state face in a post-pandemic era and how does the labor market work in developed capitalistic countries? The new course feature at the department will try to give the students the answer.

A photo of Georg and Franca outside the institute of comparative politics
Emma Gyllander, UiB

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The Department of comparative politics in the following semester is launching a new course feature on the welfare state. The aim is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the challenges that the welfare state is facing. The course feature includes the following courses: “SAMPOL272 The politics of care work and the welfare state” a new course taught by Professor Franca Van Hooren. She is a guest researcher at the department this fall. Van Hooren explains the course as follows: “Sampol 272 aims to provide insights into the working conditions of care workers across the globe and how these are shaped by public policies and political decisions”.  


The second course “SAMPOL216 Labour Markets Policies in Comparative Perspective” is taught by Georg Picot and has been a popular 200-level course among sampol-students. The course is research related and linked to Picots NRF project “Bringing in the state: The politics of Wage-regulation and low-wage employment”. Picot sums up the course as follows: “The course covers both the basics and some of today’s burning issues. It equips students with a sound understanding of the fundamentals of labour market policy, but we will also examine important issues of today, such as digitalization, gig economy, and labour immigration”.  


Van Hooren points out the connection between the two courses: “Students that also follow Sampol 216 will obtain a thorough knowledge of more general labour market policies, actors and contemporary developments, which are important factors shaping working conditions in care work”. Picot notes that both courses are based on comparative welfare research. He does point out that the courses does not overlap but complement each other: ”The two courses are more complementary than overlapping. For students, the knowledge from one course will be useful in the other course and vice versa, but there will not be a lot of unnecessary repetition for students attending both courses”. 


One of the goals of the department is to make several course features for the 200-level courses. The idea behind the features is to give the students an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of a certain field. This semester the department is offering a course feature about work and the welfare state from a comparative perspective. The courses that are included in the feature complement each other and are particularly suitable to combine. The work with making the course features are at the very beginning and we wish to expand and include features as a part of our student program, says the leader of education at the department, Kjetil Evjen.