Social Policy

Social Policy

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How do human societies provide for the wellbeing of their members? How far can we organise the ways in which we care for and about each other? And who should take responsibility for providing the support we all need? These are some of the fundamental questions addressed by social policy today. In this short introduction, suitable for students at any level, Hartley Dean explains the extraordinary scope and importance of social policy. He explores its foundations and contemporary significance; the principal issues it addresses and their diverse economic, political and sociological dimensions, and concludes by looking at the fundamental challenges facing social policy in a dramatically changing world. Taking an innovative approach to social policy as the study of human wellbeing, Hartley Dean examines the ways in which governments and peoples throughout the world attend to, promote, neglect or even undermine the things that make life worth living. These include essential services, such as healthcare and education; the means of livelihood, such as jobs and money; and vital but sometimes intangible things, such as physical and emotional security. Some of these are organised by governments and official bodies. Others are provided by businesses, social groups, community organizations, neighbours and families. Trying to understand all these elements, which together constitute human wellbeing, is the stuff of social policy.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 172 pages
  • 158 x 228 x 20mm | 381.02g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 1, black & white illustrations
  • 0745634346
  • 9780745634340

Back cover copy

How do human societies provide for the wellbeing of their members? How far can we organise the ways in which we care for and about each other? And who should take responsibility for providing the support we all need? These are some of the fundamental questions addressed by social policy today. In this short introduction, suitable for students at any level, Hartley Dean explains the extraordinary scope and importance of social policy. He explores its foundations and contemporary significance; the principal issues it addresses and their diverse economic, political and sociological dimensions, and concludes by looking at the fundamental challenges facing social policy in a dramatically changing world.Taking an innovative approach to social policy as the study of human wellbeing, Hartley Dean examines the ways in which governments and peoples throughout the world attend to, promote, neglect or even undermine the things that make life worth living. These include essential services, such as healthcare and education; the means of livelihood, such as jobs and money; and vital but sometimes intangible things, such as physical and emotional security. Some of these are organised by governments and official bodies. Others are provided by businesses, social groups, community organizations, neighbours and families. Trying to understand all these elements, which together constitute human wellbeing, is the stuff of social policy.show more

Review quote

'Hartley Dean's short introduction breathes new life into the study of social policy. Lively and entertaining, the book demonstrates the importance of social policy in tackling the big issues which affect our lives today: essential concerns, such as health, money and relationships; and pressing matters, such as poverty, the environment and crime. It provides a welcome reminder of the possibilities social policy offers for improving human wellbeing in the twenty-first century and should excite and enthuse all students approaching the subject for the first time.' Polly Toynbee 'In this engaging and articulate book Dean has managed to capture in print the passion which has drawn him to the study of social policy. In a wide-ranging and informative account he explains what social policy is and why it is so important, and in so doing he provides inspiration for new generations of students and scholars to follow his example.' Professor Pete Alcock, University of Birminghamshow more

About Hartley Dean

Hartley Dean is senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.show more

Table of contents

* List of Figures and Tables * List of Boxes * Preface * Acknowledgements *1. What is Social Policy? * Hey, big spender! * Butterflies vs. Magpies * Who cares? * A good life * Summary *2. Where did it come from? * From barbarianism to civilisation? * The making of capitalism * The taming of capitalism * Welfare and ideology * Summary *3. Why on Earth does it matter? * The threat of globalisation? * Welfare regimes * Ecology and human welfare * Global Social Policy * Summary *4. What does human wellbeing entail? * Health and education * Income maintenance and employment * Housing and the environment * The 'personal' social services * Summary *5. Who gets what? * Sharing public goods * Where's the money? * Principles of distribution * How does it all pan out? * Summary *6. Who's in control? * The problem of power * Street-level organisation and local governance * The nation state and the policy process * Regional governance * Summary *7. What's the trouble with human society? * Diversity and difference * Class and identity * Inequality and exclusion. * Social change and the life course * Summary *8. Can Social Policy solve social problems? * The (de-)construction of problems * The righting of wrongs * Blaming the victim? * Crime and anti-social behaviour * Summary *9. How are the times a-changing? * The crisis of welfare * The 'new' Social Policy * Welfare pluralism and new managerialism * Post-modernity and 'risk society' * Summary *10. Where is Social Policy going? * Welfare without the state? * An anti-capitalist agenda * A Third Way consensus? * A politics of needs interpretation * Summary * References * Indexshow more

Rating details

15 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 27% (4)
4 33% (5)
3 27% (4)
2 13% (2)
1 0% (0)
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