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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2010): Welfare state - overseas

The Argentine welfare state: enduring and resisting change

E.A. Isuani

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 19, 2010, p. 104-114

In the 1990s there was a drastic reduction in state investment in and regulation of the economy coupled with privatisation of state-owned enterprises. However, there was no parallel retrenchment in social spending due to fierce opposition from trade unions, retiree organisations and political parties not in power. At the same time, the welfare state adjusted to the profound social changes occurring during the 1990s without altering its basic nature. It continues to be organised so as to provide social security income to those who exit the labour force because of old age or illness. It is not suited to a society afflicted with high levels of unemployment, especially among young people.

Family and the welfare state in Europe: intergenerational relations in ageing societies

A. Blome, W. Keck and J. Alber

Cheltenham: Elgar, 2009

This insightful book explores the role of both the family and the state in shaping the living conditions of the young and old in Europe. It provides a comparative theoretical and empirical analysis of age-related policies and welfare arrangements in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden. By combining institutional data on changes in public policies with longitudinal micro-data on living arrangements and informal support patterns in families, the authors are able to demonstrate the huge diversity in the organization of intergenerational relations and the changes that have occurred since the early 1990s. Age-specific differences in attitudes towards current social policy issues are also explored. The key finding is that intergenerational bonds of solidarity remain robust, meaning predictions of a potential conflict between the generations are vastly exaggerated.

'Gender and employment' in the Italian policy debates: the construction of 'non employed' gendered subjects

E. Lombardo and M. Sangiuliano

Women's Studies International Forum, vol. 32, 2009, p. 445-452

'Non employment' as defined by the authors is either a government-sanctioned state in which a person is understood to be out of the labour market for good reason, or an unofficial state in which a person is working in the black economy, often without a permit. This article reconstructs the development of issues of 'gender' and 'non employment' in Italian policy debated from 1995 to 2007. The hottest policy debates on gender and non employment in the period studied focused on issues of reconciliation of work and family life, pensions and care and domestic work. The most gendered debates were those on the reconciliation of work and family life, while the other debates showed little evidence of a gender perspective on the issue at stake.

A reconsideration of two 'welfare paradises': research and policy responses to men's violence in Denmark and Sweden

D. Balkmar, L. Iovanni and K. Pringle

Men and Masculinities, vol. 12, 2009, p. 155-174

This article seeks to compare the ways that men's violence towards women and children has been dealt with in the progressive welfare states of Denmark and Sweden. It draws on three reports from each country surveying, and reinterpreting from a feminist perspective, existing material on men's practices in terms of academic outputs, official statistics, and legal or governmental documentation. It shows that there have been positive developments in addressing the issue of men's violence in both countries over the past ten years, with government policy moving ahead of research especially in Denmark. However, the amount of critical research is much greater in Sweden, and a broader range of issues is addressed.

The role of international organizations in social policy: ideas, actors and impact

E. Ervik, N. Kildal, and E. Nilssen (editors)

Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2009

This book illustrates how welfare policy is shaped by the interplay between national and international policymakers. The authors focus on the role of ideas rather than revisiting the more commonly discussed economic and technological issues associated with internationalization of welfare policy. They explore the content of ideas that international actors such as the EU and the OECD are promoting through recommendations and decrees concerning various systems of social policy. The possible effects of national and supranational welfare discourses on national welfare systems are also discussed.

Social policy and poverty in East Asia: the role of social security

J. Midgley and K. Tang (editors)

London: Routledge, 2010

This book looks at the role of social policy,and particularly social security, in addressing the ongoing challenge of poverty in East Asia despite the region's spectacular experience of economic growth in recent decades. The East Asian miracle resulted over the last four decades in a transformation of the region's traditional agrarian economies and significant increases in standards of living for many ordinary people. Even though it was given little attention, poverty has remained an ongoing problem. The problem became particularly evident however with the Asian financial crisis of 1997 when many low income and middle class workers became unemployed. As a result of this crisis, the need for effective social policies and social security programmes was recognized. The idea that economic growth would solve the problem of poverty was increasingly challenged. Even in China today, where rapid growth has created new employment opportunities and the promise of prosperity for many, the government has recognized that the problem of poverty cannot be addressed only through economic growth but that comprehensive social policies must be formulated, and this includes the development of an effective social security system.

Social welfare and religion in the Middle East: a Lebanese perspective

R. Jawad

Bristol: Policy Press, 2009

The book presents a new and comprehensive narrative of social welfare in the Middle East, through an examination of the role of religious welfare from a Lebanese perspective. Religion is, arguably, the longest and most dynamic surviving force of social and political action in the region. The book presents a new framework which examines the complex social and political dynamics shaping social welfare in the Middle East. It opens up broader debate on the role of faith-based welfare in the changing social policy landscape. Based on an in-depth study of the major Muslim and Christian religious welfare organizations in Lebanon (including Hizbollah), it also draws upon supplementary research conducted in Iran, Egypt, and Turkey.

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