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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2007): Welfare state - overseas

Family policies in Germany and France: the role of enterprises and social partners

U. Klammer and M.-T. Letablier

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 41, 2007, p. 672-692

Although France and Germany are commonly classified as Bismarckian welfare regimes, they differ significantly in terms of family policy. In Germany, mothers were traditionally expected to withdraw from the labour market and look after their children at home, so that childcare provision was neglected. In France, childcare services were well developed and women have always been encouraged to combine paid work and motherhood. However, significant changes are now happening in both countries and new actors are entering the field. In the context of an increasing need for childcare and other work-family balance facilities, this article explores the growing role of employers and trade unions in negotiating and implementing family friendly policies at the company level.

How academic research shapes labour and social policy

M. Gunderson

Journal of Labor Research, vol. 28, 2007, p. 573-590

A direct causal connection between academic research and labour and social policy is difficult, if not impossible, to establish, especially because there is evidence of reverse causality whereby the policy process drives much of the research. Moreover, research can be used or circumvented at each stage of the policy process: problem identification, legislative action, policy adoption and evaluation. Nevertheless, the literature suggests that research can have a moderate to substantial impact. Research is more likely to have an influence if it is high quality and done by reputable researchers. It must be translated into a language that is understood by policymakers, the general public and the media. Its impact can be enhanced if it has credible champions to broker and defend it, if it is timely and if it is politically acceptable.

Human ethics and welfare particularism: an exploration of the social welfare regime in Lebanon

R. Jawad

Ethics and Social Welfare, vol. 1, 2007, p. 123-146

This paper has sought to present a profile of the regime of social welfare in Lebanon by highlighting how concern with social ethics shapes all dimensions of the policy-making process, from the impetus to social action, to the conceptualisation and implementation of social policy and the measurement of welfare outcomes. Ethical responsibility and moral obligation determine relations between service providers and service users. Through programmes of social care, faith-based organisations actively seek to promote correct moral standards in society, to uphold family unity and to protect the poor from deviance. Social welfare in Lebanon emphasises the individual as a moral agent who must take responsibility for his/her own welfare through self-help, including buying services from private providers.

Reclaiming social policy: globalization, social exclusion and new poverty reduction strategies

A. de Haan

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

Processes of globalization have made national social policy increasingly important. For successful integration into the world economy, countries across the world and particularly those that are the poorest need better policies for social protection, health, education and labour markets. The book re-evaluates the importance of social policies in the shaping of well-being and combating exclusion, and enhances critical understanding of how these policies are constituted in a globalising world. The book emphasises the context- and path-dependence of patterns and policies of inclusion and exclusion, and provides a normative and practical framework for supporting social policy making.

Social policy in Sub-Saharan African context: in search of inclusive development

J. Adesina (editor)

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

The book reviews Africa's past experiences of social policy, focusing on healthcare, education, the labour market and social welfare. What stands out from these studies is how well the post-colonial nationalist leaders understood the positive links between social policy, economic development, and nation building. The deficit of democratic governance is the more significant failing of the period. However, rather than fix the democratic deficit, these studies show that what structural adjustment programmes did was to undermine economic and social policy, while reducing governance to a set of instrumental objectives. Some countries have transcended the idea of the state and civil society as antagonistic forces. Where this has happened, there has been successful extension of social protection and the widening of access to healthcare and education. The lessons for rebuilding Africa are obvious: economic development and social policy are complementary, and active social policy promotes national cohesion.

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