American Policy Making: Welfare as Ritual

American Policy Making: Welfare as Ritual

by William M. Epstein

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American Policy Making: Welfare as Ritual by William M. Epstein

American Policy Making will surely create controversy by challenging the prevailing ethos of humanitarianism. Epstein points to the perils of unrestricted subjectivity—the corruption of both social science and social discourse—and argues for a more disciplined approach to policy making. Rather than scientific theory and applied scientific practice, the social sciences have been appropriated to create ideology—corrective myths in support of social denial. The social sciences script fables of cure, prevention, and rehabilitation that falsely testify to the feasibility of inexpensive and culturally compatible solutions to deep social problems. Rather than providing effective service, social welfare programs are rituals of social values, expressing, proselytizing, reaffirming, and strengthening factional preferences. This is a uniquely unsentimental analysis of American social policy-making with great scope and depth, particularly in the personal social services, philosophic and historical dimensions. It is also a bold call to action to create more effective policies for social welfare.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780742517332
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/15/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.78(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

William M. Epstein is professor of social work at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction Part 2 Preface Part 3 Acknowledgments Chapter 4 1 Political Theory, Ideology, and Social Welfare Chapter 5 2 The Willow World of Virtue: Rationality and Effectiveness in the Personal Social Services Chapter 6 3 The American Ethos 1: Two Civil Religions Chapter 7 4 The American Ethos 2: America Speaks - The Polls and Policy Choice Chapter 8 5 The American Ethos 3: Social Welfare Services as Rituals of the Civil Religion Chapter 9 6 Two Romances: The Enlightenment and the Anti-Enlightenment Chapter 10 7 Science, Limited Science, and Scientism Chapter 11 8 Hiding from the Jacobins Part 12 References Part 13 Afterword

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