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About this book

In this sequel to the acclaimed Welfare Theory (Palgrave, 2001), Tony Fitzpatrick examines the most recent, influential and cutting edge ideas influencing policy studies today. Clearly structured to enable students to make theoretical connections between apparently diverse areas, it provides an invaluable synthesis of the most important theoretical innovations in the discipline in recent years. Comprehensive, engaging and authoritative, New Theories of Welfare will appeal to all those interested in social and public policy, politics, sociology and philosophy.

Table of Contents

1. Modern Conservatism Versus Social Democracy

Abstract
From the 1940s to the 1960s, in most developed nations, social democracy appeared to be designing the future. Laissez faire ideas had died with the depression and then the war as social conservatives turned their boats to a political tide whose destinations were other than those for which they had previously aimed. Even where Right-wing parties continued to be strong (USA, UK, Germany) the initiative seemed to lie with the Left; and although ‘consensus’ is too facile a description of post-WWII society, the skirmishes between Right and Left rarely erupted into all-out war. By the 1970s social democracy suffered from an excess of failure and of success: the failure to maintain a delicate balance between opposing economic forces; the success of creating new sociocultural relations whose members were rapidly outgrowing the post-1945 settlement. And while destabilising itself social democracy also succumbed to a series of economic shocks and political challenges. By the 1980s the initiative lay with a Right-wing determined to mould the world into an image whose shape would subsequently be made to appear inevitable and unavoidable. This final transformation has arguably been accomplished by social democrats who, faced with the same choice that conservatives had faced a generation earlier, eventually came to play the characters that had been authored by others. The years of and since the 1990s have therefore been curious. Right-wing ideas have dominated and yet the Right itself has sometimes appeared to lack confidence in its domination, convinced that the manoeuvres of the cultural Left (postmodernists, relativists, the politically correct) are subtly undermining the moral values of capitalism.1 The Left, meanwhile, regained its voice(s) but not without discord between those who would and those who would not echo the economics of deregulation and privatisation.
The story of the 1990s is too vast to be told in a single chapter and we will return, throughout this book, to many of the fronts along which Right and Left continue to clash. The intention below is to sketch some of the recent manifestations in the long-running ideas of Right and Left under the respective headings of ‘modern conservatism’ and ‘social democracy’. I will say more about the Right, partly because it has made most of the running and partly because the next chapter will be dedicated to some recent developments in Leftist thought.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

2. The New Radicalisms

Abstract
What follows is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of what I am calling the new radicalisms as this would be too big a task for a single chapter but it hopefully does identify a stream of debate that offers alternatives to the ideas explored in the previous one. Today the Left is less a coherent manifesto than a signifier around which a diversity of movements can be said to cluster with varying degrees of consistency and deliberation. The more it has been vilified by its opponents the more this signifier has regained a credibility that it arguably could never have obtained by itself. So although not everything which is radical is Left, nor everything which is on the Left is radical, there still exists an intellectual space beyond the mainstreams of conservatism and social democracy which we cannot ignore.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

3. Agency, Community and Class

Abstract
Having spent the opening chapters reviewing three of the key political perspectives at work in contemporary welfare theory the rest of the book is spent discussing some of the main debates of recent years into which they may be said to intervene. The main intention is to explore the debates themselves rather than fitting them rigidly into the above political boxes. However, I seek to explain as we go along why and how those perspectives make their respective interventions. We begin in this chapter by looking at questions of agency, community and class. The first two have certainly impacted upon political and academic debates in recent years, with class having declined in influence. Still, the premise of this chapter is that we cannot fully understand any one of these concepts without some reference to the others.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

4. Insecurities

Abstract
Some insecurities have their origin in nature (natural disasters), many straddle the boundaries of the natural and social (as is the case in risks associated with global warming, pollution, resource scarcity, etc.), while others may be categorised as largely or entirely social (as in the case of job insecurity). Some insecurities are real and others are imagined. However, many insecurities are real because imagined according to Thomas’s Theorem where if we define something as real then it becomes real in its consequences. Think of fears about children’s vulnerability that leads to excessive paternalism (don’t go near strangers, don’t stray away from home, don’t walk to school) and so to a risk aversion that may serve to make children more rather than less vulnerable.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

5. Information and Society

Abstract
Information has always been central to social policy (Leonard, 2003).1 In this chapter I am going to look at some contemporary developments and focus specifically upon two issues; the question of whether we now live in an information society and the relevance of the revolution in ICTs for social policy. One problem is that the literature on ICTs and welfare remains under-developed and tends to be highly fragmented in terms of its objectives and disciplinary orientations. The aim of this chapter, then, is not necessarily to join the dots but to suggest where some of the main dots are located. What are the main issues we should address?
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

6. Genes and Environments

Abstract
A gene is a sequence of DNA, the self-replicating molecular strands which form the biological basis of life, that are contained in the 23 paired chromosomes each of us inherits from our parents. Genes are coded to produce the amino acids out of which proteins, and eventually cells, are produced. Interpreting the code therefore enables you to understand something of the biological characteristics of the organism in question.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

7. Social Psychologies, Emotions, Bodies

Abstract
The previous two chapters have dealt with subjects where some wish to detach technologies from their social embeddedness. In this chapter we turn towards subjects where the social framework is more obvious but still highly contested. We are going to deal with three principal dimensions of the self (psyche, emotions and the body) by first outlining the contours of some recent debates and exploring the connections with social policy as we proceed. The intention here is not to integrate the three dimensions closely but to underline the point being made throughout these later chapters, that contestation and debate revolves around disagreement over the nature of the social.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

8. Governance, Crime and Surveillance

Abstract
The same is arguably true of the three subjects to be covered below, though it has to be acknowledged that the potential for detrimental interventions by policy-makers is here more obvious and direct. It is part of my aim to show why. Even more than in other chapters the themes dealt with here are so vast that, to make things manageable, the principal aim is to distinguish those threads which connect all three. The literature on governance is recent and multiplies in ever new directions with every wave of public sector reform and so what I do below is identify the two features of contemporary society to which I think it most usefully draws attention. The first of these is then illustrated by reviewing the key theoretical debates about crime and social policy; the second feature is discernible in ongoing discussions of the surveillance society.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

9. Culture and Media

Abstract
Culture is notoriously difficult to define since it is as self-referential a concept as they come (Eagleton, 2000). We use culture to shape culture: it is a tool that works on itself. Any definition is itself culturally configured and so endlessly contestable. The term has been used to encompass at least the following: values, belief-systems, norms, meanings, ways of life, social symbols, interpretative grids, codes and representations, histories, customs and conventions, language and discourse, aesthetics, ethics, religion, rituals, myths, social habits, assumptions and instincts, understandings, identities and divisions, popular attitudes and popular culture. Culture is we might say the way we do things around here.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling

Conclusion

Abstract
Rather than a standard summary of previous chapters I want to conclude by drawing your attention to the main themes of the book and their implications for social policy.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Jo Campling
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