Social policy, social welfare, and the welfare state
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Introduction Learning outcomes Social policy Deﬁning social policy in terms of types of expenditure Analysing social policy Social policy as intentions and objectives Redistribution The management of risk Social inclusion Social policy as administrative and ﬁnancial arrangements Social policy as social administration Social policy as public ﬁnance Social policy as outcomes Social welfare The welfare state Deﬁning the welfare state Comparing types of welfare state The development of the welfare state A consequence of industrialization or of political competition? Conclusion: Has the ‘golden age’ of the welfare state passed? FURTHER READING USEFUL WEBSITES ESSAY QUESTIONS
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T HE ORIGI NS , CHARACTER, AND PO L I T I C S O F MO D E R N S O C I A L W E L F A R E S Y S T E MS
There are many, particularly social science, disciplines in which questions to do with social policy and the welfare systems of Britain and other countries are likely to be relevant. Th is is because spending on social policy is often the largest part of governments’ budgets and because welfare services are a large part of the economies of industrial societies. You may be using this book as a student on a social policy programme at university or college; or you may be taking a social policy module as part of professional training in social work or nursing; or because you have chosen a social policy option as part of a course in sociology, economics, politics, or history. Three terms are central to the subject matter of this book: ‘social policy’, ‘social welfare’, and ‘the welfare state’. This chapter provides an introduction to the meanings that are attached to these and the debates that surround them.
Learning outcomes After reading this chapter students will: 1 be able to describe what is meant by key terms used in the study of social policy: social policy, social administration, social welfare, the welfare state, social expenditure; 2 understand the range of objectives that may be contained within social policies: redistribution, the management of risk, reducing social exclusion; 3 be able to distinguish between social policies in terms of intentions, methods, and outcomes; 4 be able to distinguish the ways in which societies meet social needs, particularly the roles of the state, the market, and the household; 5 be able to explain why social policy and welfare services are fundamental to the organization of industrial societies.
The phrase ‘social policy’ generally has two possible meanings. It is used to refer to the academic subject called Social Policy or, more importantly, it means social policies themselves, that is to say the intentions and activities of governments that are broadly social in their nature. It is not very useful to spend a great deal of time trying to pin down the best definition of social policy. There is no right answer. It is much more helpful simply to look at examples of what are generally called social policies. This book contains a great many such examples, and in that sense our definition of social policy is simply demonstrated in the things that are described in this book. A similar approach was taken by a working party that produced a ‘Benchmarking Document’ to guide the curriculum for social policy in British universities. Rather than define what social policies are, the working party chose to list the main topics that were commonly studied under that heading, though it admitted that the list would have to change over time (see Box 1.1).
S O CI AL PO L I CY , S O C I A L W E L F A R E , A N D T H E W E L F A R E S T A T E
Box 1.1 Optional units currently found within UK Social Policy degree courses Social policy knowledge is typically taught and learnt through a focus upon...
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