Department of European Languages and Cultures
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DELC 214: Economic and Social Change in France, Germany and Spain since 1945

This course explores how post-war economic change has affected European societies during the second half of the twentieth century. It explores the two founder countries of post-war Europe, namely France and Germany. Despite the historic differences between these two great nations, the course explores how shared interests have shaped the Franco-German alliance since 1945 and continue to do so up to the present day. In addition, the module will integrate analysis of developments in Spain within the wider debate on southern 'modernisation' and EC/EU integration. During the course, we cover these main topics: (1) how did, and does, the financial crisis of 2008 affect France, Spain and Germany, (2) the shift in France from a state-run economy towards greater dependency on the private sector, (3) the social and economic consequences of German reunification and changes in the German social security system. (4) the experience of specific sectors of Spain’s economy in the shift from post-authoritarian transformation to modernization

The course seeks to address the following questions: What was the historical situation of the three countries when the European Economic Community was set up and how have they responded since then to the changing role of Europe in their national affairs? How has membership of the European Union affected the national cultural traditions, political structures and economic management of France, Germany and Spain? What are some of the main areas of national interest affected by current developments in European policy? Its focus is country-specific, dealing first with France, then Spain and finally with Germany, but always from a comparative perspective, with reference to Europe as a whole and to the EU's relationship with the wider world. The course is team-taught and students are actively involved with group presentations and case studies.

  • Convenor: Dr Birgit Smith
  • Term: Lent
  • Assessment: 2 presentations (20%); 2 reports (20%); Examination (60%)
  • Language: This module is taught in English and all texts are available in English 

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