The Welfare State Crisis and the Transformation of Social Service Work

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The authors explore the interplay between the implementation of cost- containment policies and the changing structure and content of social service practice, within the larger dynamics of the political economy. They explore the work patterns and practices of professional social workers currently employed in child welfare, health, and employment agencies. Paper edition (unseen), $14.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873326438
  • Publisher: Sharpe, M. E. Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/10/1992
  • Pages: 258
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Response to the Poor by a Debtor State: The Economic and Social Crises of the 1990s 3
Introduction: Unanswered Questions in Unsettling Times 3
A Deeper Look at the Financial Problems of the 1990s 5
The Decline of the American Economy: Deindustrialization and the Restratification of the Labor Force 6
Beyond the "Intensification of Poverty": The Response to the Poor by a Debtor State 13
An Ominous Future: The Inability of States and Local Communities to Do More 21
2 The Political Economic Framework of the Welfare State Crisis 29
Introduction 29
Three Theories of the Welfare State: Conservative, Liberal, and Neo-Marxist 32
The Contradictions between the Democratic State and Capitalist Society 40
Why Groups under Capitalism Must Turn to the State: The Development of the State's Accumulation-Legitimation 43
Conflict-Laden Activities and Processes of the Welfare State: The Role of Class Struggle 48
The Neo-Marxist Deterministic Analysis of Welfare State Programs 50
Summary and Conclusions 57
3 The Crisis and Transformation of Public Social Services 62
Introduction 62
Cost Containment and the Restructuring of Social Service Practice 65
New Mechanisms of Internal Control at the Workplace 73
Cost Containment and the Creation of Industrial Services 78
Proletarianization and the Alienation of the Social Service Labor Force 85
The Segmentation of the Social Service Labor Market 102
Conclusion 111
4 The Crisis and Transformation of Not-For-Profit Social Services: A Qualitative Analysis 116
Introduction 116
The Not-for-Profits' Partnership with the State 118
Cost Containment and the Redefinition of the Partnership 124
Changes at the Level of the Agency and Worker 127
Cost Containment and the Productive, Efficient Budget: Leaner and Meaner 140
Narrowing the Service Encounter 150
Alienation from Client and Service 157
Devaluation of the Social Service Worker 166
The Struggle to Preserve Craft and Service 171
A Deepening Crisis 177
Conclusion 179
Appendix 4-A 182
Appendix 4-B 188
5 Charting a New Direction: Generative Social Services 195
The Findings and Their Implications for the Future 196
An Alternate Direction: Limited Pragmatism and the Development of Intensified Forms of Social Services 204
Formulating a Generative Model of Social Services 210
The Dilemmas of Generative Social Services 237
What Is at Stake 244
Index 249
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