Associate Professor in Sociology
Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences
Telephone: (01792) 602857
Room: Office - 124
First Floor
Haldane Building
Singleton Campus

Gideon Calder directs the Social Policy programme at Swansea University, and his main interests lie in the relationship between ideals, values and the reality of contemporary social challenges.  He works on the relationship between theories, policy and practice, exploring how each informs the other – and on a grander level, how all of this shapes our understanding of social justice and a fair society.  He is author or editor of 10 books, 25 refereed journal articles and over 30 book chapters and similar pieces.  He has appeared regularly on BBC TV and radio, and in 2017 helped set up Holi: Co-Productive Inquiry in Wales.

Areas of Expertise

  • social and political theory
  • professional ethics
  • social justice
  • social mobility
  • childhood
  • families
  • well-being policy
  • ethics of care
  • life chances
  • co-production


  1. What Would a Society Look Like Where Children’s Life Chances Were Really Fair?. Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit 33(6), 655-666.
  2. (Eds.). The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children.
  3. Children and the care system. In The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. (pp. 362-372).
  4. Childhood and disability. In The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Childhood and Children. (pp. 260-270). Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
  5. As If: Contestation, Care and the Temper of the Country. In Making Social Democrats: Citizens, Mindsets, Realities: Essays for David Marquand. (pp. 195-211). Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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  • ASP100 The Sociology of Social Policy

    This module aims to provide an introduction to the subject of social policy from a sociological perspective and to provide a basic understanding of the origins, organisation, operations and outcomes of welfare institutions. The module explores the meaning of social policy and introduces students to sociological conceptualisations of the social construction of social problems, human needs, citizenship rights and equalities. It then considers key areas of the welfare system including education, health, social care, housing and social security, through a sociological lens.

  • ASP106 The Politics of Social Policy

    The module explores the development of recent UK Social Policy and the post-war welfare state through a political lens. It does this firstly by setting out key issues at the heart of debates on social policy, and then by comparing a series of key political approaches to those issues. The module considers liberalism, socialism, and conservatism, alongside recent critical approaches including feminism, environmentalism and the New Right. The aim is to provide an introduction to why social policy matters politically, and how our understanding of problems and priorities in welfare provision will be shaped by the dominant political perspectives of our time.

  • ASP220 Social Security, Poverty and Social Exclusion

    This module provides an overview of the development of social security from the turn of the 20th century to the present day. The module assesses the impact of contemporary social security policies in tackling poverty and the social exclusion of particular social groups. Social security policies are formulated within the precepts of prevailing political philosophies. Accordingly, social security has been greatly affected by changes in political and social policies throughout the twentieth century, and more recently by legislation implemented by the New Right, New Labour and Coalition governments. The meanings and significance of these changes are explored, and the roles and responsibilities of the state, the market and the individual are scrutinized.

  • ASP300 Dissertation

    The aim of this module is to provide students with an opportunity to analyse and report on a social issue of their own choosing.

  • ASP356 The Family and Children: Ethics and Policy

    This module critically explores why the family and children matter to social policy, through an analysis of various contexts in which relevant issues arise, and of the implications of how they have been tackled in recent policy across a range of policy spheres in Wales, the UK and beyond. Throughout, there is a focus on questions of ethics and social justice. Thus it addresses why families, parenting and the interests of children raise pressing and challenging questions concerning rights, responsibilities and the nature of well-being ¿ and provides critical tools with which to assess how these questions have been answered in social policy.

  • EYXM16 Children's Rights and Safeguarding Children and Young People

    This module will examine historical, cultural and ethical issues in relation to both the safeguarding of children and young people and their rights. It will examine the relevant legislation and policy in relation to both areas and evaluate the current safeguarding agenda and implementation of rights in the UK. The cross cultural context of both areas will also be discussed. It will be a relevant to practitioners working with children across a range of health, social and educational settings.

  • HUP100 The Fundamental Questions of Philosophy

    This module introduces students to a series of questions and issues that are central to the discipline of philosophy. The topics discussed, in a lively and entertaining manner, will be concerned with the nature of persons and their relationships to the natural world and to other human beings in society. The topics studied will be: a.) ancient and modern accounts of the nature of the world and the nature of persons; b.) the relationship between the minds and bodies of persons; c.) the problem of personal identity; d.) reason and emotion in relation to human behaviour; e.) the possibility of freedom; f.) the claims of religion and science.

  • PM-148 Foundations of Community Medicine

    Communities now play a key role in improving and sustaining good health and the delivery of care. This has led to the development of a new field within medical education and practice called Community Medicine. Community Medicine is often considered synonymous with Preventative and Social Medicine (PSM), Public Health, and Community Health because of a shared concern with the prevention of disease and promotion of health and wellbeing. This module introduces students to the wide range of approaches encompassed within Community Medicine. These include preventative, promotive, curative and rehabilitative approaches aimed at improving population health through community-based health and care.

  • PPS102 Poverty and Plenty

    This module challenges students to think about the relationships between those in need and those with plenty from the 18th century to today. Using online and traditionally sourced primary sources students will ask questions about why poverty has been perceived as the poor persons¿ fault, and in turn interrogates the motivations of the more affluent in their participation in philanthropic ventures. Themes will include state welfare, private charity, the rise and fall of 20th century welfare practices, and the fall and rise of the finance industry.

  • PPS111 Individuals and Society

    This module explores the relationship between society and the individual, with the aim of introducing students to a series of key concepts and debates across a series of areas of contemporary social life. We focus in particular on divisions in society as focal points for understanding how social factors affect individuals¿ identities, priorities, choices and life chances. The module serves as a foundation for years 2 and 3, giving students vital conceptual tools and showing how they can be applied across a series of key issues, themes and contexts.

  • PPS215 Using Evidence for Research, Policy and Practice

    The module aims to provide students with the elementary knowledge and tools necessary to identify, record, and interpret different types of literature and secondary data sources for use in the development of evidence-based literature reviews which can inform research, practice and/or policy. Students will be introduced to: the substantive aspects of developing evidence for research, policy and practice, illustrated with examples of evidence-based policy; different approaches to reviewing literature; identifying and searching specialist databases containing survey and census data; recording and storing evidence using specialist software; and applying these skills and knowledge by preparing a literature review on a social policy topic.

  • PPS306 Youth and Later Life: Opportunities for Policy and Practice

    This module aims to explore issues surrounding the experience and treatment of young and older people in contemporary society, in Wales and beyond and responses to those issues in current social policy and practice. It looks at these two stages of the lifespan in terms of a series of social priorities, including education, health, the justice system, advocacy services, housing provision, and social care legislation. A key theme throughout is inclusion: how best we can ensure that both young and older people are engaged, supported and represented in decision-making.

  • PPS309 Sociology of Childhood and Parenting

    This module aims to provide students with an overview of key issues in the contemporary sociology of childhood and parenting. It explores what is distinctive about a sociological (rather than e.g. a biological or psychological) perspective on children, childhood and the parenting relationship. It looks at the complex place of children in society, and at dominant social perceptions of how childhood compares to adulthood. It looks at how the experience of childhood and parenting relate to factors such as class, gender and ethnicity. And it looks at a series of socially contentious issues connected to childhood, parenting and family relationships, including punishment, sexuality, religion and education. Thus the module provides a critical understanding both of what childhood and parenting are, in social terms, why they matter in contemporary society, and the important role they play in our understanding of key social processes.

  • SHHM16 Ethics and Philosophy of Social Research

    This module will address the ethics of conducting social research. The discussion of research ethics will include, but not be limited to, informed consent and how to protect the anonymity of research participants. Discussions will also address the limits of researchers' obligations to protect anonymity and confidentiality, along with taking a more detailed look at the process of applying for university research ethics approval. Philosophical problems associated with conducting social research will be explored - asking questions such as 'How is our understanding of others limited? ''Are my research findings objective?¿.

  • SHPM48 Philosophy, Ethics & Medicine

    This module introduces and examines some of the fundamental theoretical approaches to ethics in relation to examples taken from healthcare. It also considers the nature of moral judgements and the relation between ethics and the law.


  • Access to citizenship in the mobilities age (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Paul Nash
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Dr Ashley Frawley
    Other supervisor: Dr Charles Musselwhite
  • The nature of ethical dilemmas in disaster response (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Hugh Upton
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
  • Perceptions of ethics and ethical development of undergraduate student nurses (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Hugh Upton
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
  • A qualitative study of the experiences of inequality and self perceptions of resilience among Gypsy and Traveller communities in Wales. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Louise Condon
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Dr Tracey Maegusuku-Hewett
  • Middle school students' perceptions regarding the value of Pre-AP courses: Are student intrinsic goals being met and are they equipped to make such choices?" (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Michael Ward
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
  • What does well-being mean for older family carers (and why does it matter?)«br /»«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Vanessa Burholt
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Prof Norah Keating
  • Developing An Understanding of Adolescent to parent violence and Abuse. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Tracey Maegusuku-Hewett
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Prof Fiona Verity
  • 'An ethnographic study of health visitors’ interpretation of the principle of ‘the influence on policies affecting health’ in Wales.' (awarded 2019)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Dr Gideon Calder
    Other supervisor: Dr Sherrill Snelgrove
    Other supervisor: Prof Joy Merrell

Research Groups

  • PRIME Centre Wales

    PRIME Centre Wales

  • Research Institute of Ethics and Law

    Research Institute of Ethics and Law, Swansea University

  • Holi: Co-Productive Inquiry in Wales

    Holi: Co-Productive Inquiry in Wales