Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State

Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State : Britain and France, 1914-1945

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The development of European welfare states in the first half of this century has often been seen as a response to the rise of class politics. This study of social policies in Britain and France between 1914 and 1945 contests this interpretation. It argues, by contrast, that early policymakers and social reformers were responding equally to a perceived crisis of family relations and gender roles. The institutions they developed continue to structure the welfare state as it exists today. This book is innovative in the range and scope of its research, its comparative focus, and its argument, which pose a challenge to older class-based interpretations of the development of the welfare state. It will be of interest to scholars of European history and politics, as well as to those interested in social policy and women's studies.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 28mm | 650g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1 Line drawings, unspecified
  • 0521558344
  • 9780521558341

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: On dependence and distribution; Part I. Programs and Precendents: 1. The family in question: state and family in prewar thought and politics; 2. The impact of the Great War; Part II. Reworking the Family Wage in the Twenties: 3. Family policy as women's emancipation? The failed campaign for endowment of motherhood in Britain; 4. Family policy as 'Socialism in our Time'? The failed campaign for children's allowances in Britain; 5. Business strategies and the family: the development of family allowances in France, 1920-1936; Part III. The Politics of State Intervention in the Thirties: 6. Engendering the British Welfare State; 7. Distributive justice and the family: toward a parental welfare state; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

'... excellent study - rich in detail and impeccably researched ... her deft style, first-rate scholarship and clarity of judgement make the book indispensable.' The Times Higher Education Supplement "The strength of Susan Pedersen's outstanding book is that she extends and deepens the analysis of the emergence of the British welfare state, the gendering of the state, and the methodology of comparative history, in a way which has implications beyond the precise topic of the emergence of family allowances for the nature of the British state and the social history of the family. This is a book that any historian of modern Britain should read....It can only be hoped that others will now emulate Pedersen's outstanding example." M.J. Daunton, Albion "Perdersen's book makes an excellent contribution to the history of the welfare state. With its carefully nuanced manner of posing questions and framing results, it will serve to encourage investigations of the welfare state and of political processes generally with respect to their ties to the relation between the sexes. For, in the end, Perdersen's analysis proves in an impressive way how gender history corrects, tranforms, and enriches our understanding of 'general history.'" Journal of Modern History "This book is an excellent example of...integrative historical analysis. Perderson has tackled a complicated, complex, mess of relations--social, cultural, ideological, political--in such a way than any boundaries between them are seen to be largely imposed for the purposes of analysis by those of us looking backward." Labour "Pedersen's work is thorough and persuasive." Times Literary Supplement "...must reading for those interested in comparative welfare state developments, comparative developments in the field of gender and social policy, and most importantly, in comparative family policy...[a] fascinating and well documented study..." Sheila B. Kamerman "...this book will long stand as the definitive account of social politics in the two countries during the crucial formative years of their welfare states." Sonya Michel, Contemporary Sociology "The book attempts to establish a broad logic of interest behind the welfare state based on an extensive range of archival materials." Social Services and Human Resources "Susan Pedersen's ambitious book illustrates the promise of work that is simultaneously historical and comparative....makes a significant contribution to analyses of the welfare state--all studies of the welfare state, not just feminist ones--by demonstrating the centrality of gender relations and families to explanations of social policy outcomes and by presenting an analysis that fully integrates gender and families with class and markets and states....I cannot but give this work my strongest endorsement. Sociologists and others working on the welfare state, family, politics, the economy, and gender all will gain from it. I hope this excellent work will inspire others to undertake historical and comparative analyses of comparable scope and depth." Ann Orloff, American Journal of Sociology "This exhaustively researched and carefully organized study would be of use to scholars and to upper-level students of history. There is an impressive exploration of primary sources, namely archival documents. Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State is a significant contribution to welfare-state in its explanation of how two European systems developed." Jill Miller, European Studies Journal
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