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About this book

What are the concepts and principles that underpin the design and delivery of social policies?

This thoroughly revised edition of a trusted text provides an authoritative introduction to the theoretical framework of social policy. Drawing upon the fields of politics, sociology and philosophy, the book offers analysis of the history and relevance of a range of core concepts such as equality, liberty, citizenship and power. It explores key ideologies of welfare, including Marxism, Feminism and the Radical Right, and presents critical perspectives on the nature of society and class.

A stimulating combination of classic debates and recent developments in the field, this edition:

Features an entirely new chapter on the growing influences of global justice and environmentalism Includes thought-provoking new 'Questions for Further Discussion' at the end of each chapter Addresses fundamental issues in contemporary society such as social exclusion, social division and the nature of happiness.

Written in a down-to-earth and engaging style, this major text is essential introductory reading for all students of Social Policy, as well as for any student of Sociology, Politics or Public Policy seeking to understand what is at stake in welfare policies of the 21st century.

Table of Contents

1. Wellbeing

Abstract
Discussions about wellbeing have become prominent in recent years. Dean (2006) argues that, while the study of social problems remains important, social policy should also be based on understanding and promoting those values and attributes which enable a life to go well rather than badly. To some extent, this interest in wellbeing is due to a shift in economics away from mathematical models and towards psychological analyses of how and why people behave as they do. Within this literature, ‘welfare’ and ‘wellbeing’ are sometimes used synonymously; sometimes they have different, though complementary, meanings; and sometimes they point in opposite directions—e.g. in the U.S. ‘welfare’ continues to signify failure and dependency. In this book, the terms are typically used interchangeably (‘faring well’ and ‘being well’ are similar), though ‘the welfare state’ also denotes a particular socioeconomic regime of institutions and services.
Tony Fitzpatrick

2. Equality

Abstract
Throughout Chapter 1, we saw that some debates are politically charged. Chapters 2–4 elucidate a series of perspectives on justice: equality, liberty, citizenship and community. These debates, too, are characterized by highly contested and politicized ideas. Understand also that these chapters are interdependent. What you think about equality will influence, and be influenced by, your views about liberty and both will intersect with discussions of citizenship and community.
Tony Fitzpatrick

3. Liberty

Abstract
Equality and liberty are reference points for disagreements about the nature and social implications of justice. As such, we will be revisiting many themes from Chapter 2 and anticipating some of the ideas and debates we encounter later in the book.
Tony Fitzpatrick

4. Citizenship and Community

Abstract
Interest in citizenship revived in the 1980s (Kymlicka, 2002: ch.7). This was due, firstly, to corresponding debates concerning agency, class, social movements and identity and, secondly, as a response to the rise of economic liberalism with its emphasis upon commodified market values, consumerism, self-interest and populist authoritarianism. Furthermore, community and civil society came to be regarded as crucial sites of civic association and political participation.1 To some extent these debates revitalized long-standing oppositions, with the Right emphasizing market liberties and socio-moral obligations against what they saw as the dominance of the ‘big state’; and the Left stressing social equality, welfare entitlements and political rights against the new hegemony of market forces (the ‘big market’).
Tony Fitzpatrick

5. State, Power and Poverty

Abstract
In this chapter and the next we investigate the political and social ‘spaces’ within which justice, and injustice, operates; the arenas which make concepts of equality, liberty, citizenship and community an actual reality for people. Chapter 5 deals with the origins, means and ends of government. On pp. 86–93 we examine justifications of the state and political authority. What is the relationship between government and state? What is the nature of the state’s power? pp. 93–8 then ask, what is power? How does the state shape the lives of its citizens? Finally, on pp. 98–104, we draw upon these critiques when exploring debates about poverty and social exclusion. These questions are to some degree dependent upon, and so lead us towards, Chapter 6 where we examine theories of structure and agency, class and other forms of social association.
Tony Fitzpatrick

6. Society and Class

Abstract
The contrasts of the last chapter reoccur here in individualist and organic accounts of society. All welfare systems operate within some kind of a class structure and all welfare systems have altered the characteristics of social classes to varying extents. The impact of social policy has therefore shaped those questions that are central to modern societies:
  • To what extent do we live in a class society?
  • How much of our politics is — and should be — a politics of class?
  • What influence has state welfare had on class relations?
  • Is class being superseded by other social categories?
Tony Fitzpatrick

7. Ideologies

Abstract
A full understanding of philosophical ideas and debates cannot be reduced to a series of ideological positions, though we have found it impossible to discuss concepts like wellbeing, equality, etc. without political ideologies entering the picture (George & Wilding, 1994; George & Page, 1995; Taylor, 2007; Lister, 2010: ch. 2). This chapter assumes simply that an ideology offers a critique of existing society, a vision of a better one and a strategy for getting from here to there (Ball & Dagger, 1991; cf. Freeden, 1996: chs. 1–3). We begin on the Right and work our way Left (see Schumaker, 2008).
Tony Fitzpatrick

8. Identities

Abstract
Debates about identity have become vitally important. The previous chapters have suggested that identity is
  • definitive of who we are and what we do;
  • related to wellbeing, to the flourishing of long-term ambitions;
  • something that unites humans, while also denoting differences and cultural diversities;
  • both personal and social, a form of social agency which signifies membership within a particular way of life;
  • multilayered, some layers being fundamental and others more ephemeral and contingent; and
  • made through social practices, cultural representations and socioeconomic-political structures.
By the 1970s–1980s, ‘identity politics’ embodied the new emphasis upon individualization, demanding a turn away from materialism, structural analyses and ideology towards culture, discourse, new social movements and the postmodern. It represented a fracturing of old assumptions about solidarity and collectivism, but one which offered exciting possibilities for new ‘decentred’ alliances, political movements and theoretical critiques.
Tony Fitzpatrick

9. Globalizations

Abstract
Debates about social identity have increasingly had to consider new global contexts (e.g. Touraine, 2000; Parekh, 2008). This is also the case with the other themes of previous chapters.
Tony Fitzpatrick

10. Global Justice and Environmentalism

Abstract
Two questions were posed on p. 169:
  • What constraints and opportunities does globalization present?
  • In what kind of global society do we wish to live?
Chapter 9 ended by quoting Stiglitz who argues that we are faced with two moral issues: the plight of the world’s poor and the challenge of global warming. In this chapter, we therefore concentrate upon the second of the above questions.
Tony Fitzpatrick

Concluding Remarks

Abstract
If nothing else, this book has provided evidence for the following three claims.
Tony Fitzpatrick
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