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PLEASE CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TOPICS AND COMPLETE AN ESSAY OUTLINE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY ON IN WHICH YOU WILL LATER DO THE FINAL PAPER. Please be advised that you can only choose one question. PLEASE INCLUDE A THESIS AS WELL AS CLEAR AND CONCISE BREAKDOWN FOR EACH SUB TOPIC….
You are to provide ¾ page identifying the topic that you will look at for your essay and the argument that you plan to make. Also include a bibliography, including 10-12 sources. Due June 4th.
You are to write a 12 page research essay on an area of social policy. The work for your essay will form the basis of your presentation in week 9-12. Suggested topics are listed below. You should frame your essay in terms of a theoretical/conceptual issue, for example, social citizenship, neo-liberalism, welfare state regimes, intersectionality or some other framework which helps advance your argument. This part should make up approximately 3 pages of your essay. You can draw on your short analytic reviews both for your theoretical framework and for the subject you wish to look at. Overall, you should draw on 10-12 sources. Your essay should be about 12 pages long. Your essay outline is due June 4th and the essay is due June 29th.
Themes and questions:
Childcare and child benefits
1. Canada has lagged behind many other OECD countries in that it has never adequately developed a publicly funded system of childcare. Discuss policy initiatives in the area of childcare since the mid-1980s. In your view, why is it that Canada has never developed a comprehensive childcare system? What direction has the Harper government taken with respect to childcare in Canada?
2. Assess the nature of childcare provision in Quebec. Why has Quebec implemented a much more comprehensive child care plan than the rest of Canada? Would Quebec’s childcare and parental leave policies be a good model for the rest of Canada? Can childcare be considered a social right of citizenship?
3. Assess the nature of childcare in Sweden. What accounts for a more comprehensive plan in Sweden?
4. Discuss the National Child Benefit, introduced in 1997. Has this measure been effective in reducing child poverty? Can this measure be seen as the further extension of neoliberalism, or as a new form of state-provided social investment?
Migrant workers and social rights
5. Assess Canada’s live-in caregiver program. How can we ensure rights and social protections for migrant child and elderly care workers?
6. Seasonal agricultural workers generally work in Canada about 8 months of the year. Assess the extent to which workers in this program have access to social rights and benefits. Do we have to revise our notions of “social rights of citizenship” in light of the globalized world that we live in?
7. Temporary foreign workers are increasingly found in many sectors in Canada apart from caregiving and agriculture. To what extent do these workers have access to social rights and benefits? What are the possibilities for enforcing rights and standards at a global level?
Growing precarious labour, inequalities and income security
8. There has been much attention focused in recent years on growing inequalities and the “rise of the 1%”. What accounts for this growing inequality? To what extent have inequalities increased in Canada? What measures can be put in place to address it?
9. Since the recession of 2008 youth unemployment has remained persistently high. What measures should be put in place to address this issue?
10. Guy Standing describes the rise of the “precariat” as posing challenges to individual and social security. Evaluate his idea of a “precariat”. How should social programs be re-evaluated in light of the growth of precarious work?
11. Sheila Block and Grace-Edward Galabuzi identify that the income gap is particularly high for racialized workers. Discuss their findings and what might be put in place to address this issue.
12. Jamie Peck has argued that “workfare is not about creating jobs for people that don’t have them; it is about creating workers for jobs that nobody wants”, (Workfare States, p. 6) Discuss, looking in particular at the introduction and implementation of the Ontario Works Act in 1997.
13. Discuss the impact of workfare from an intersectional perspective (in terms of gender/race/immigration).
14. To what extent has the criminalization of the poor become a social policy approach in Canada? Discuss with respect to Harper’s policies.
15. What are the purpose and goals of Employment Insurance? What are some of the problems with it and how might it be reformed?
Crisis, Austerity, Housing and Debt as a Substitute for Social Provisioning
16. Various authors have argued that over the last 20 years, as real wages have stagnated, debt has become a substitute for social provisioning, in other words, that people are addressing basic social needs through taking on debt (housing, student loans, credit card debt). Assess the key issues involved here, and what may be done to address it. You may wish to discuss Soederberg’s idea of the “debtfare state”.
17. Finding affordable housing is a challenge in Toronto and other cities in Canada. What role has the federal government historically played in the provision of affordable housing and what policies should we think about implementing?
18. Evaluate the role of the federal government in the provision for housing for First Nations communities.
19. How have the 2008 crisis and subsequent austerity measures reshaped the way that we think about social programs? What has been the response in Europe?
20. A guaranteed annual income (or a basic income) is often put forward as a possible new model for social security. Discuss the merits and drawbacks of such a proposal.
21. The “Bolsa Familia” is a program that has been introduced in Brazil that aims to provide a minimal level of income and to address issues of poverty. How would you evaluate this program?
22. What role should charities and the voluntary sector play in social provisioning?
23. Access for all? Discuss the No One is Illegal movement and the demands it is making in cities like Toronto.
Health Care, pensions, education
24. To what extent has privatization been a feature of the Canadian health care system in the last 20 years? What are the implications? Has health care reform eroded the social rights of citizenship in Canada?
25. Peck and Tickell describe neoliberalism as involving two phases: “roll back” (involving cuts) and “roll out” (involving the institution of new neo-liberal forms. To what extent does health care spending in Canada fit this pattern?
26. What has been the direction of pension policy in the neo-liberal era?
27. How is education (either post-secondary or elementary/secondary) being reshaped under neoliberalism?
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