The Third Edition of this widely adopted textbook has been thoroughly revised and offers an authoritative and up-to-date coverage of the key theories, concepts, and issues in social policy. This lively and readable text has been designed to provide the essential tools to understand the main theoretical debates surrounding the discipline.
The book is organized into three sections:
Section One offers a detailed but accessible critique of major theoretical approaches such as neo-liberalism, Marxism, feminism and racism;
Section Two explores conceptual debates such as distributive justice and postmodernism;
Section Three engages with contemporary social policy issues such as children, pensions and the role of New Labor;
The new edition of also features newly commissioned chapters to reflect recent developments and current debates within social policy. New areas of consideration include citizenship; post-structuralism; the politics of food; and globalization.
Student exercises and reading lists feature throughout the text and practical examples are skillfully used to illustrate conceptual and theoretical material. Social Policy: Theories, Concepts and Issues is a core textbook for undergraduate social policy students, as well as those studying related welfare modules across the social sciences
Chapter Two: Neo-Liberalism and Social Policy
At the heart of social policy debates is a series of ‘contested concepts'. Concepts like freedom, equality, justice, rights, citizenship and community, for example. We may each have a vague idea of what we mean by these concepts but, if we stop for a minute, it is clear that we will have come across a usage that contrasts with our own.
Let's briefly take the concept equality and ask a few simple questions. Do we mean, for example, equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? Furthermore, as the theorist Amartya Sen (1992) notes, we need to consider the question ‘equality of what?’ Resources? Freedom? Welfare? And finally, we need to think about the potential ‘clash’ between different ...