Welfare is an important concept in the social sciences. It is also challenged and contested not only by alternative concepts but also as a political goal in itself. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, this book takes a fresh look at the continuing relevance of welfare in the context of public policy, recent scholarly developments and changes in popular attitudes and behaviour.
The book connects theory and practice. Tracing the concept’s background in economics, political science and social policy, the book juxtaposes welfare with newer approaches, such as subjective well-being, capabilities, care, social exclusion and social capital. The links between welfare and political ideas are also elaborated. The welfare state, as it developed historically in Europe and as it is changing in different countries, is given an important place in the analysis. Drawing on a range of empirical work, the book in its final part considers how individuals and groups seek to attain welfare and how this shapes people’s decisions and actions in their everyday lives.
Written in a lively style, the book provides students of sociology, social policy and political science with a valuable point of access to a range of debates and thinking in the field of welfare and related concepts.
Table of Contents
- Founding Ideas and Approaches
- Well-being and Other Challenges to Conventional Understandings of Welfare Intermezzo
- Classic Political Philosophies of Welfare
- The State and Public Welfare Intermezzo
- Securing Material Welfare through the Market and the State
- The Personal and Social Relations of Welfare
- Conclusion Bibliography
“The welfare state is everywhere under attack. Academics respond with new accounts of how welfare is to be understood in a world of migration, recession, escalating inequality, make work pay and volatile families. This book provides an energetic review of an exciting and uncertain world.”
— Peter Taylor-Gooby, University of Kent
“Mary Daly's lucidly written book analyses the core ideological and philosophical debates about welfare and also explores 'welfare in practice' – how welfare policies are actually delivered through the different mediums of the state, the market and the family. This is a truly excellent introduction to a complex and contested concept, and students will benefit enormously from reading it.”
— Nick Ellison, University of Leeds