One of the key characteristics of the study of social policy is its interdisciplinary nature, drawing upon subjects such as economics, history, sociology and politics. It also embraces a variety of approaches. These include the exploration of social issues, such as the ageing population or community care, or social problems, for instance, crime, poverty and unemployment; the consideration of particular social groups, such as children or homeless people, or those in isolated rural areas; and examination of the main services: education, health care, housing, personal social services and social security. Given the dynamic nature of the subject, these and other methods are constantly developing. Yet the emphasis has, until recently, continued to lie largely in examinations of policies as responses to problems and demands, and the description and evaluation of those policies, rather than through insights that might emerge from wider consideration of the policy process. This book therefore seeks to present the analysis of the policy process as one means of encouraging a broad approach to the subject matter, drawing upon a wide range of concepts and models that can help us to contextualise, understand and explain developments from a perspective that provides, to some extent, an alternative consideration of the exercise of power in contemporary society.
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Hugh M. Bochel
- Macmillan Education UK
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