Summary of Key Points Ideologies structure our views of the world. They are critical and prescriptive, leading to disagreement and debate about what should be done. Those influencing social policy are called ‘ideologies of welfare’.Ideologies of welfare have often been located along a continuum from left (pro-state) to right (promarket) positions, although not all can be contained within such a simplistic framework.Neoliberalism argues that state provision of welfare is incompatible with free market economic growth and leads to a ‘dependency culture’, although few supporters advocate complete withdrawal of state welfare support.Support for the Middle Way was part of the Butskellite ‘consensus’ on welfare that emerged in the midtwentieth century and also underpins aspects of the Coalition government approach in the new century. They support collective welfare provision in partnership with market-based economic growth.Social democrats believe that capitalist societies can (and should) be reformed to meet the welfare needs of all citizens. Social democracy is generally distinguished from democratic socialism, which advocates the ultimate replacement of all capitalist relations.Marxists argue that state welfare provision within capitalism is inherently unstable and will lead to failure and conflict, although socialist alternatives have not proved viable in practice.New social movements challenge the left/right orthodoxy of welfare ideologies by pointing to other social divisions and socioeconomic issues that underpin welfare policy and practice.Postmodernists argue that single ideological frameworks cannot provide an effective basis for analysis of complex societies, and that ideological analysis should concentrate upon how such frameworks are constructed and influence policy development.
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