This book is about individualist ideas, and how they shape contemporary approaches to public policy. If we were to believe the existing literature, we might think that only markets can satisfy people’s needs, and that any collective concept of welfare compromises individual welfare. The price mechanism is taken to be the best way to allocate resources, and it is assumed that individualised responses to need must be better than general ones.Reclaiming individualism reviews the scope of individualist approaches, and considers how they apply to issues of policy. It argues for a concept of individualism based on rights, human dignity, shared interests and social protection. A valuable resource for those working or studying in social or public policy, this book is a powerful restatement of some of the key values that led to individualism being such a force in the first place.
Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence. Paul Spicker’s new book takes the three founding principles of the French Revolution - Liberty, Equality, Fraternity - and examines how they relate to social policy today. The book considers the political and moral dimensions of a wide range of social policies, and offers a different way of thinking about each subject from the way it is usually analysed.
The book is in three main parts, one part devoted to Liberty, Equality and Fraternity in turn. Each part explores the elements and dimensions of the key concept, its application to policy, its interrelationship with the other two principles, and how policies have developed to promote the principle in society. The conclusion outlines three models of radical politics, based on the main concepts.
Liberty, equality, fraternity is an original, thought-provoking book, addressing perennial themes with many topical examples drawn from policy in practice, and offering distinctive insights into socialist and radical thinking.
Most governments in the world – including many that are autocratic or authoritarian - have taken responsibility for social policy and elected to develop services in health, education and social security. This book explores the role of government and the state in the contemporary world and, considering a range of theories and evidence, discusses views about government responsibility for social welfare services.
Applying political theory to social policy, this book seeks to address a set of key questions: What responsibilities do governments have towards their populations? What ought they do and what not? How can they do things better?
The British welfare state is traditionally understood to be comprised of five main services: health, housing, social security, education and the ‘personal social services’, such as social care and child protection.
In this book, Paul Spicker offers an original take on the role of the state in relation to these services, along with three other areas where institutional services have been developed: employment services, equalities and public services, such as roads, parks, libraries and rescue services.
Dismissing false and misleading narratives, this book profiles the real problems that need to be addressed and offers inspiration for a better path forward.
People who work in planning, management and service delivery in the public sector need to know how policy is translated into practice, what is happening, and whether a policy works. “Policy analysis for practice" introduces students and practitioners to the concepts, methods and techniques required to undertake the analysis and review of policy and its implementation. Focusing on developing understanding and skills for a growing area of practice, it combines material from public and social administration with examples and application to social policy and the social services. The book looks at ways to understand and analyse the main stages of the policy process: developing strategies, identifying aims, examining the situation, choosing methods, implementation and service delivery, and evaluating outcomes. It stresses throughout the role of policy analysis as a political, and not just a technical, activity. “Policy analysis for practice" is an original, thought-provoking text with a strong applied focus. It offers systematic, accessible coverage of wide-ranging literature, application to practical circumstances and the needs of people in the field and a direct relationship to vocational work in the management and administration of social services. It will be invaluable for students and practitioners in public policy, social policy and public sector management, in fields including central and local government, health and social care and the voluntary sector.
Social Policy: Theory and practice is a fully revised, updated and extended edition of a bestselling social policy textbook, extensively reworked and adapted to meet the needs of its international readership. The book lays out the architecture of social policy as a field of study, binding the discussion of theory to the understanding of social policy in practice. It aims to provide students and practitioners with a sense of the scope, range and purpose of the subject while developing critical awareness of problems, issues and common fallacies.
Written in an accessible and engaging style, it explains what social policy is and why it matters; looks at social policy in its social context; considers policy, the role of the state and the social services; explores issues in social administration and service delivery; and focuses on the methods and approaches of the subject. For practitioners, there are discussions of the techniques and approaches used to apply social policy in practice. For students, there are boxes raising issues and reviewing case studies, questions for discussion and a detailed glossary.
The book’s distinctive, path–breaking approach makes it invaluable for students studying social policy at a range levels, professionals and practitioners in the field of social policy.
In this persuasive study, social welfare and policy expert Paul Spicker makes a case for a relational view of poverty.
Poverty is much more than a lack of resources. It involves a complex set of social relationships, such as economic disadvantage, insecurity or a lack of rights. These relational elements tell us what poverty is – what it consists of, what poor people are experiencing, and what problems need to be addressed.
This book examines poverty in the context of the economy, society and the political community, considering how states can respond to issues of inequality, exclusion and powerlessness. Drawing on examples of social policy in both rich and poor countries, this is an accessible contribution to the debate about the nature of poverty and responses to it.
What does collectivism mean in social policy? What does thinking collectively imply for policy?
In this book, well-respected author Paul Spicker lends a complementary voice to his Reclaiming Individualism, reviewing collectivism as a dimension of political discourse. Breaking down his analysis to examine collectivism through substantive, moral and methodological lenses, he reviews a series of arguments for cooperative effort, solidarity and collective responsibility. Taking a dispassionate and methodical approach, the author explores what collectivism means in social policy and what value it offers to the field.
How social security works is an introduction to the much-misunderstood system of benefits in Britain. The book is an accessible, broadly based and sometimes controversial text which can help readers to make sense of the system in practice. It explains the guiding principles, outlines the social context, considers the development and political dimensions of benefits, and reviews how the system operates now. There are detailed discussions of the types of benefit, and the contingencies covered by the benefits system.
Paul Spicker examines whether the system offers value for money, how it could be simplified and how it can be improved. The book will be useful to students on undergraduate and professional courses, but beyond that it will appeal to policy makers, practitioners and a broader general readership.
This book examines views about what poverty is and what should be done about it. ‘Poverty’ means many different things to different people - for example, material deprivation, lack of money, dependency on benefits, social exclusion or inequality. In “The idea of poverty", Paul Spicker makes a committed argument for a participative, inclusive understanding of the term.
Spicker’s previous work in this field has been described as ‘entertaining and sometimes controversial’, and his new book certainly lives up to this. Some of the book’s ideas are complex and will be of particular interest to academics and others working in the field, but the book has been written mainly for students and the interested general reader. It challenges many of the myths and stereotypes about poverty and the poor, and helps readers to make sense of a wide range of conflicting and contradictory source material.