Collectivism is a set of ideas, principles and approaches that begin from the recognition of the collective aspects of social life. Where individualism views actions, decisions and policies from the perspective of independent, single actors, collectivism focuses on social groups, communities and the wider society. In Reclaiming individualism , I made a case for social and government action in order to protect and enhance the conditions of individuals. 1 The argument of that book was based on a distinctive analytical framework, outlining three discrete
nations. People are not born into a moral vacuum; they are born into families, communities and countries. That means, for every person, there is a complex, thick set of relationships, norms and obligations, which has to be taken into account in any moral discussion. One of the most serious defects in contemporary individualist thought is the treatment of people as moral voids, entirely motivated by self-interest; few people are like that, and those who are, are treated as having a mental disorder. A discussion of the moral dimensions of collectivism largely then focuses
, but they are not less meaningful for that – any more than other intangibles, like language, finance or history. Family relationships, banking, employment and education are not the product of individual imaginations; they are part of the fabric of everyday life. Collectivism is sometimes conflated with ‘holism’, a view that everything we do is shaped by society. 4 For Agassi, ‘collectivism or holism’ is ‘The doctrine that individual ends and decisions are created by social forces; thus they are constrained by social constraints and subject to conformity with the
Understanding behaviour collectively Methodological individualism begins from the premise that relationships and social structures have to be understood person by person. Methodological collectivism, a much less familiar idea, is based in an attempt to understand the relationships between people in terms of groups and social structures. In Chapter 1 , I mainly discussed circumstances where it was obvious that people were acting in groups, but there are other situations where the choice between an individualist and collectivist approach is not so
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.
Robert Pinker has written extensively on social policy matters since the early 1960s. His distinct approach to understanding concepts such as welfare pluralism is of particular relevance today as welfare pluralism remains an essential component of the policy mix, giving people access to a greater range and diversity of statutory, voluntary, and private sector services than unitary models of welfare provide.
Social Policy and Welfare Pluralism presents the first collection of Robert Pinker’s essays in one edited volume. It includes essays on the ways in which welfare theories and ideologies and public expectations have influenced and shaped the political processes of policy making. Other essays focus on clarifying some of the key concepts that underpin the study of social policy. Pinker also reviews the extent to which the United Kingdom has succeeded in creating a ‘policy mix’ in which normative compromises are negotiated between the claims of market individualism and public sector collectivism. The concluding chapter by Robert Pinker reviews the prospects for social policy in the UK over the next five years.
‘Capitalism may be teetering once again on the edge of a terminal crisis, but there are no gravediggers in sight. This time around not only are there no gravediggers there are no longer any rival economic systems either …’
In ‘The Western Ideology’ Andrew Gamble demonstrates the contradictions and the resilience of the doctrines that define liberal modernity, and examines the contemporary possibilities for dissent and change.
This volume brings together for the first time this seminal essay with a collection of Andrew Gamble’s writings on political ideas and ideologies, which have been chosen by the author to illustrate the main themes of his writing in intellectual history and the history of ideas. Themes include the character of economic liberalism and neoliberalism, especially as expressed in the work of Friedrich Hayek, as well as critiques from both social democratic and conservative perspectives and from critics as varied as Karl Marx, Michael Oakeshott and Bob Dylan.
The collection includes a new autobiographical introduction, notes on the essays and an epilogue putting the essays into the context of today’s society. Andrew Gamble provides a unique exploration of the debates and the ideas that have shaped our politics and Western ideology.
A companion volume of Andrew Gamble’s essays, After Brexit and Other Essays, focusing on political economy and British politics, is also available from Bristol University Press.
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.
The development of social policy in Europe is explored in this accessible intellectual history and analysis of the welfare state.
From the Industrial Revolution onwards, the book identifies three important concepts behind efforts to address social concerns in Europe: social democracy, Christian democracy and liberalism. With guides to the political and ideological protagonists and the beliefs and values that lie behind reforms, it traces the progress and legacies of each of the three traditions.
For academics and students across social policy and the political economy, this is an illuminating new perspective on the welfare state through the last two centuries.
With new devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this book makes a comprehensive assessment of the impact of devolution on social policy. It provides a study of developments in the major areas of social policy and a full comparison between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. To what extent is it valid to speak of agendas for government driven by social policy? With new governments in each country, has a fresh dynamic been given to the emergence of distinct social policies?
"The impact of devolution on social policy" uses a framework of analysis based on the nature and scope of social policies, ranging from major innovations and policy distinctiveness, to differences in implementation, policy convergence and areas of overlap with UK policies. This framework facilitates an integrated analysis and comparison of social policy developments and outcomes between the four UK nations. An assessment is also made of the ideas and values which have driven the direction of social policy under devolution.
With devolution becoming increasingly important in the study of social policy, the book will be of key interest to academics and students in social policy, public policy and politics, and will also be a valuable resource for practitioners involved in policy making.