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83 7 Welfare Summary Competing interpretations of welfare may be based on individual decisions, needs, the avoidance of poverty or deprivation, the sum of individual welfares, common ground or ‘collective consequentialism’, and the ‘common good’ or good of society. However, the areas provided for as ‘social welfare’ are conventional and often miss important elements of people’s well-being. Every system of welfare leaves gaps. ‘Welfare’ or well-being is often translated into a specific set of issues, such as health or command over resources, because that is

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Government for the People

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?

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Exploring Politics, Geographies and Inequalities

David Etherington provides bold and fresh perspectives on the link between welfare policy and employment relations as he assesses their fundamental impact on social inequalities.

Exploring how reforms, including Universal Credit, have reinforced employment and social insecurity, he assesses the role of NGOs, trade unions and policymakers in challenging this increasingly work-focused welfare agenda. Drawing on international and national case studies, the book reviews developments, including rising job insecurity, low pay and geographical inequalities, considered integral to neoliberal approaches to social spending.

Etherington sets out the possibilities and challenges of alternative approaches and progressive new paths for welfare, the labour market and social rights.

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The growing demand for social housing is one of the most pressing public issues in Britain today, and this book analyses its role and value.

Anchored in a discussion of different approaches to the meaning and measurement of wellbeing, the author explores how these perspectives influence our views of the meaning, value and purpose of social housing in today’s welfare state. The closing arguments of the book suggest a more universalist approach to social housing, designed to meet the common needs of a wide range of households, with diverse socioeconomic characteristics, but all sharing the same equality of social status.

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From Thatcherism to Austerity

In this enlightening study, Ian Cummins traces changing attitudes to penal and welfare systems.

From Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet, to austerity politics via New Labour, the book reveals the ideological shifts that have led successive governments to reinforce their penal powers. It shows how ‘tough on crime’ messages have spread to other areas of social policy, fostering the neoliberal political economy, encouraging hostile approaches to the social state and creating stigma for those living in poverty.

This is an important addition to the debate around the complex and interconnected issues of welfare and punishment.

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The New Faith of the Labour Market
Authors: and

Western culture has ‘faith’ in the labour market as a test of the worth of each individual. For those who are out of work, welfare is now less of a support than a means of purification and redemption. Continuously reformed by the left and right in politics, the contemporary welfare state attempts to transform the unemployed into active jobseekers, punishing non-compliance.

Drawing on ideas from economic theology, this provocative book uncovers deep-rooted religious concepts and shows how they continue to influence contemporary views of work and unemployment: Jobcentres resemble purgatory where the unemployed attempt to redeem themselves, jobseeking is a form of pilgrimage in hope of salvation, and the economy appears as providence, whereby trials and tribulations test each individual. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the sociology and anthropology of modern economic life.

Chapters 1 and 3 are available Open Access via OAPEN under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

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An Assessment of US Anti-Poverty Policies

The election of Barack Obama in the midst of the 2008 economic downturn brought hope to millions and presented an opportunity for expanding socio-economic rights. But the Obama administration was consistently constrained by the challenges of divided government, and the now threatened Affordable Care Act (‘Obamacare’) remains the stand-out welfare reform of his Presidency.

Using new research, Anne Daguerre examines Obama’s legacy on welfare and antipoverty policies, focusing in particular on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The book provides an up-to-date account of the contemporary politics of poverty and public entitlements in the US, comparing this with the Western European experience and its traditionally strong commitment to social welfare, to assess what lessons can be learned.

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Government information policy and social citizenship

This book explores the role of government in encouraging or deterring the claiming of welfare entitlements. It:

compares the rhetoric of claimants’ rights with the realities of information provision;

uses the example of the increasingly complex social security system to consider the citizenship status of claimants;

focuses on government policies rather than on psychological, attitudinal or deprivational explanations for levels of take-up;

uses historical and contemporary evidence, including interviews with policy makers, to explore information policy.

Promoting welfare? is aimed at all those who are concerned about poverty, social justice and citizenship including students and teachers of social policy, politics and public administration; politicians and policy makers; and service users, practitioners and welfare rights groups.

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International transformations in welfare governance
Editors: and

While reforms of welfare policies have been widely analysed, the reform of welfare administration has received far less attention. Using empirical case studies, this book provides significant new insights into the way welfare administration is being internationally transformed. Particular attention is given to the effect on welfare clients, staff and agencies.

“Administering welfare reform” presents a critical analysis of governance practices in welfare administration and examines shifts in the participants, practices and processes of welfare administration. It presents original empirical case studies that highlight the effects of reforming welfare governance on welfare subjects, staff and agencies and provides a much-needed international and comparative perspective of changing welfare governance.

This book is aimed at scholars and advanced students of sociology, social policy, economics, public administration and management, as well as social policy practitioners and service delivery workers.

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Human rights, dependency and responsibility

The book explores the extent to which rights to welfare are related to human inter-dependency on the one hand and the ethics of responsibility on the other. Its intention is to kick-start a fresh debate about the moral foundations of social policy and welfare reform.

The ethics of welfare:

explores the concepts of dependency, responsibility and rights and their significance for social citizenship;

draws together findings from a range of recent research that has investigated popular, political, welfare provider and welfare user discourses;

discusses, in a UK context, the relevance of the recent Human Rights Act for social policy;

presents arguments in favour of a human rights based approach to social welfare.

The book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of welfare. It is aimed at students and academics in social policy, social work, sociology, politics and law. It will also interest policy makers and welfare professionals, particularly those concerned with welfare benefits and social care.

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