What is Social Policy

Overview

From housing, pensions, and family benefits, to health-care, unemployment insurance, and social assistance, the welfare state is a key aspect of our lives. But social programs are contested political realities that we can't hope to understand without locating them within the "big picture."

This book provides a concise political and sociological introduction to social policy; helping readers to grasp the nature of social programs and the political struggles surrounding them. It ...

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Overview

From housing, pensions, and family benefits, to health-care, unemployment insurance, and social assistance, the welfare state is a key aspect of our lives. But social programs are contested political realities that we can't hope to understand without locating them within the "big picture."

This book provides a concise political and sociological introduction to social policy; helping readers to grasp the nature of social programs and the political struggles surrounding them. It takes a broad comparative and historical viewpoint on the United States, using an international perspective to contextualize American Social policy within the developed world. Provocative and engaging, it offers insight into a wide range of social policy issues such as: welfare regimes, welfare state development, the politics of retrenchment and restructuring; the relationship between social programs and various forms of inequality; changing family and economic relations; the role of private social benefits; the potential impact of globalization; and debates about the future of the welfare state.

What is Social Policy? will be stimulating reading for upper-level students of sociology, political science, public policy, and social work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best brief account of US welfare available. Highly recommended."
Choice

"It has been quipped that on of the last bastions of British Empire has been the introductory social policy textbook and that might have been so: until now. Daniel Béland has finally breached that bastion."
Journal of Social Policy

"In this important and well-researched book, Daniel Béland examines the American welfare state in both a comparative and a historical context. What is Social Policy? Understanding the Welfare State explains in clear language how social programs protect individuals and families against fluctuations in the economy and changing risks that occur across the life course. From health care to unemployment insurance to old-age pensions, Béland makes a compelling case for why the welfare state is significant in shaping lives and reducing inequality."
Jill Quadagno, Florida State University and author of One Nation, Uninsured

"Ambitious in scope yet admirably concise ... Daniel Béland has written a very good introduction to U.S. social policy, one that is particularly well-suited to undergraduates and general readers."
Christopher Howard, College of William and Mary, Virginia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745645841
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/22/2010
  • Series: PPSS - Polity Political Sociology Series , #2
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Beland is Professor of Public Policy and Sociology at the University of Saskatchewan
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Table of Contents

List of Tables

Preface & Acknowledgements

Introduction 1

1 Social Policy and the Welfare State 9

2 The United States in International Context 44

3 Welfare State Development 66

4 Retrenchment and Restructuring 93

5 Looming Challenges 120

Conclusion 151

Notes 157

References 161

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