Theorising Welfare: Enlightenment and Modern Society



Theorising Welfare: Enlightenment and Modern Society By Dr Martin O'Brien, Dr Sue Penna
Publisher: Sage Publications 1998 | 256 Pages | ISBN: 0803989075 | File type: PDF | 5 mb


Why theorise welfare? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different perspectives on welfare? How would you recognise a theory of welfare if you saw one? This accessible introductory text shows how debates about welfare systems and provision are about much more than the organisation of services or benefits; they are also about how societies do and should develop and change and how major social divisions - such as class, gender, ethnicity or sexuality - are affected by change.
From conditions of employment to the regulation of family life, from the availabilty of shelter to rights over the environment and its resources, from the classification of social membership or personal need to the management of waste, social welfare is embedded in a wide range of political, economic and cultural relationships. To theorise welfare is to theorise public and private, institutional and communal networks of action and struggle.
Seven important theoretical perspectives are clearly set out: liberalism, Marxism, neoliberalism, poststructuralism, political economy, political ecology and postmodernism. The authors show how understandings of welfare are connected to wider perspectives on social change and development, providing a guide to social theories of welfare at the same time as exploring some of the social and political contexts in which those theories have arisen and developed.
Theorising Welfare will be essential reading for students of social policy, laying the conceptual foundations for every facet of their undergraduate work; it will also provide sociology students with a map of the major debates in contemporary social theory.


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