From Plato to Prodi

Masthead and Copyright Note

The idea for this CD-ROM and Internet publication is protected by international copyright law.

The project goes back on the Higher Diploma in Social Policy Course 2001-2002 at the Department of Applied Social Studies at the National University of Ireland, University College Cork and in particular the class Social Policy and Social Policy Research Course of the Higher Diploma, mentioned before.

Information can be found in the following on 

This is for the time being updated along the progression of the course. In actual fact, this product is still very much geared to provide documentation of and for the course. However, the idea is to permanently enhance the provision of material in order to reach a product that is a valuable utility for learning social policy in a changing world. Such learning make take place wherever - at the desk at home or in a taught course environment. The only actual - non-technical - requirements are the readiness to experiment with own thoughts and ideas, the readiness to draw up links rather than solely follow provided links and finally the readiness to get involved in sociology as means to explore social policy as one of the most exciting and  challenging experiments - a science for which the real world is a huge laboratory. 


First, the very special Thanks go to the Course Director, Joe Finnerty, who - first - provided a framework, which made such an idea thinkable at all and - second - actively supported me in carrying out the project. I do not want to miss the chats, debates and well-informed support; and I do not want to miss the "little help from a friend", the patience he showed at the sight of my frequent des-organisation and the openness and flexibility in dealing with my at times odd procedere.

Second, Debby Lynch who acted during the academic year 2000_2001 was in her role as previous Course Director as well a great encouragement. She provided a framework which made it possible to try to develop new ways by nevertheless walking on a given and well respected ground of the Course. I still appreciate her circumspect procedere - providing me with a save ground on which I could learn to make my own steps in this course.

Third, without the high motivation, interest and tolerance of the students of the class the project would not have been possible. Interest and as well the readiness to actively elaborate positions, to link daily life, partisanship and the efforts for deeper understanding had been a permanent motivation, encouragement and actually pleasure alike.

Fourth, I am more than ever aware of the fact that teaching is a mutual process - emphasising mutuality and the process character. Neither is it - in my view - possible to teach without getting something back, without getting as well the opportunity to learn from the participants of the courses. Nor is teaching a static event, without having effects in the longer term. It is here the opportunity to express my gratitude to the students of the previous Higher Diploma Course, who showed me as well by contacts beyond the class-room that especially teaching in the policy area is as well a matter of developing  a mutual understanding and basis of trust and mutual respect - one of the students in 2001/2002, Cathy, speaks of "a life experience", certainly a matter for the lecturer as well.

Fifth, partly in immediate connection with the work of this Course, partly just in the sense of providing a supportive and often pleasant framework I want to thank all those colleagues who indirectly supported the work, sometimes not even being aware of this little project - the Head of the Department, Fred Powell and many staff members from academia and administration of the Department of Applied Social Studies had been a great help for somebody who is living between worlds, as I characterised my position elsewhere on these pages - between a remote place West of Cork City and Europe and between working on questions of theory development and practical policy-making on different levels.

Sixth, for some time the University College Cork did not provide an office for me as part-timer, which surely is fair enough - the disadvantage of being desk-less meant in fact the opportunity of developing a very open way of teaching - at times reminding me at the "philosophy of the market place", as it must have been characteristic for the ancient Greek and Roman republic - the res publica, the "matter of the people", as it would be translated; could anything else be more appropriate for a course in social policy!?

Seventh, many thanks to Peter Flynn and Vesco Bondov - they helped me with some questions on the Computer technology - thanks for the help and hints; and thank you both for not throwing me out of the window to avoid any further questions on how to get a CD running and how to do it properly. That many features on the CD are not as they should be shows just the lack of my learning capacity. 

Finally, thanks go to the European Social, Organisational and Science Consultancy - Independent Research. This project had been supported to large extent by the Institute by work-input and financial support alike.


                      phone: +353.(0)21.4903398

University College Cork, Department of Applied Social Studies

Every reproduction is permitted, provided that the source is completely mentioned.

The copyright for the site, i.e. the design and as far as not stated otherwise is with Peter Herrmann, Aghabullogue. And so is the responsibility for any errors, shortcomings etc. 

Sources for documents, including original websites can be found here.

Largest possible care has been taken in preparation of the compilation. However, no expressed or implied warranty of any kind can be taken and no responsibility can be accepted for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for incidental or consequential damages in connection with or arising out of information contained in the compilation.


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