Series: Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy


Series Editors: Heejung Chung ,University of Kent, UK, Alexandra Kaasch, University of Bielefeld, Germany, and Stefan Kühner, Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Published in association with the Social Policy Association.

In a world that is rapidly changing, increasingly connected and uncertain, there is a need to develop a shared applied policy analysis of welfare regimes. Through a unique combination of comparative and global social perspectives, books in this series will address broad questions around how nation states and transnational policy actors deal with globally shared challenges.

Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy

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Melting Labour and the Failure to Protect Workers in the Korean Welfare State

Despite recent achievements in the South Korean economy and development within welfare institutions, new forms of precarious work continue to prevail.

This book introduces the concept of ‘melting labour’, which refers the blurring of boundaries between traditional forms of work and workplace and the dissolution of standard employment relationships. Presenting a theoretical framework at the intersection of ‘melting labour’ and institutional protection of workers, it addresses how and why the Korean welfare state has failed to protect precarious workers.

Based on rich, in-depth interviews with over 80 precarious workers in Korea, from subcontracted manufacturing workers to platform workers, it provides a real depiction of how workers lose control over their lives and experience precariousness in labour markets.

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Developing the new framework of ‘life-mix’, which considers the mixed patterns of caring and working in different periods of life, this book systematically explores the interplay of productivism, women, care and work in East Asia and Europe.

The book ranges across four key aspects of welfare – childcare, parental leave, employment support and pensions – to illustrate how policies affect women in various periods of their lives. Policy case studies from France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, South Korea, Sweden and the UK, show how welfare could support people’s caring and working lives. This book forms a prescient examination of how productivist thinking underpins regimes and impacts women’s welfare, care and work in both the East and West.

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More Harm than Good?

More than a decade on from their conception, this book reflects on the consequences of income management policies in Australia and Zealand.

Drawing on a three-year study, it explores the lived experience of those for whom core welfare benefits and services are dependent on government conceptions of ‘responsible’ behaviour. It analyses whether officially claimed positive intentions and benefits of the schemes are outweighed by negative impacts that deepen the poverty and stigma of marginalised and disadvantaged groups.

This novel study considers the future of this form of welfare conditionality and addresses wider questions of fairness and social justice.

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International Lessons and Policy Implications

Social investment policies have enjoyed prominence during recent welfare reforms across the OECD world, and yet there is insufficient long-term strategy for their success.

Reviewing labour market, family and education policies, this edited collection analyses the emergence of social investment policies in both Europe and East Asia. Adopting a life course perspective and examining both public and private investments, this book addresses key contemporary policy issues including care, learning, work, social mobility and inequalities.

Providing original observations, this seminal text explores the roads and barriers towards effective social investment policies, derives practical social policy implications and highlights important lessons for future policymaking.

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International and Comparative Policy Perspectives

Research into minimum income standards and reference budgets around the world is compared in this illuminating collection from leading academics in the field.

From countries with long established research traditions to places where it is relatively new, contributors set out the different aims and objectives of investigations into the minimum needs and requirements of populations, and the historical contexts, theoretical frameworks and methodological issues that lie behind each approach.

For policymakers, practitioners and social policy and poverty academics, this essential review of learnings to date and future prospects for research is all the more relevant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, testing health and social protection systems around the globe.

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Employment Policies Across Europe

This book reviews how local social and employment policy fields react to the European Social Fund (ESF) to determine the role of the ESF in local activation policies. Drawing on both sociology and political science literature on welfare state reforms, the author examines what shapes local policy reactions to ESF and what effects these reactions have on change in local policy fields.

Comparing data from 18 local case studies across 6 European countries, and deploying an innovative mixed-method approach, the book presents comparative evidence on everyday challenges in the context of the ESF and discusses how these findings are applicable to other funding schemes.

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Ideas, Politics and Policies

Activation policies which promote and enforce labour market participation continue to proliferate in Europe and constitute the reform blueprint from centre-left to centre-right, as well as for most international organizations. Through an in-depth study of four major reforms in Denmark and France, this book maps how co-existing ideas are mobilised to justify, criticise and reach activation compromises and how their morality sediments into the instruments governing the unemployed. By rethinking the role of ideas and morality in policy changes, this book illustrates how the moral economy of activation leads to a permanent behaviourist testing of the unemployed in public debate as well as in local jobcentres.

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The Development of Labour Market Insiders and Outsiders

ePDF and ePUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

This book brings together leading international authors from a number of fields to provide an up-to-date understanding of part-time work at national, sector, industry and workplace levels. The contributors critically examine part-time employment in different institutional settings across Europe, the USA, Australia and Korea.

This analysis serves as a prism to investigate wider trends, particularly in female employment, including the continued increase in part-time work and processes that are increasingly creating dualisation and inequality between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ jobs.

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In the wake of the financial crisis, and with increasing numbers of people in precarious and low paid jobs, there has been a surprising surge of support for populist right-wing political parties who often promote an anti-welfare message. Tougher approaches and welfare chauvinism are on the agenda in many countries, with policies which reduce the welfare state for those seen as undeserving and changes that often disproportionally benefit the rich.

Why are voters seemingly not concerned about growing inequality? Using a mixed-methods approach and newly released data, this book aims to answer this question and to show possible ways forward for welfare states.

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