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

Europe in the global age

A. Giddens

Cambridge: Polity, 2007

Europe's social model - its system of welfare and social protection - has come under great strain in many states within the European Union. The book argues that the traditional European welfare state needs to be rethought. The reform has to go hand in hand with the quest to regenerate economic growth. Radical changes need to be contemplated in the face of the impact of globalization, rapidly increasing cultural diversity and changing demography. Moreover, environmental issues must be directly connected to other citizenship obligations. The book's main interest lies in where the European Union is going. It discusses:

  • Change and innovation in Europe
  • The Services Directive
  • Social justice and social divisions
  • Social solidarity
  • Migration and citizenship
  • Lifestyle change

Gender, ageing and the 'new social settlement': the importance of developing a holistic approach to care policies

J. Lewis

Current Sociology, vol. 55, 2007, p. 271-286

Labour market changes in Europe are leading to the decline of the "male breadwinner family model". Social protection systems designed around this model assumed that women would be in stable marriages and would be provided for through their husbands' social insurance contributions and entitlements. Instead governments planning welfare state reforms are increasingly acting on the assumption that all adult citizens will be economically active and self-supporting. This set of assumptions does not hold true for women who are unlikely to be able to become fully autonomous citizen workers due to their responsibilities for caring for children and elderly relatives. This in turn will exacerbate gender inequalities in later life.

Industrial relations as a source of solidarity in times of welfare state retrenchment

C. Trampusch

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 36, 2007, p.197-215

The 'solidarity-decline thesis' postulates that current welfare state retrenchment leads to a decrease in social cohesion because redistributive benefits are cut. In Denmark, France, Germany and the Netherlands collective agreements are increasingly used to regulate and finance social benefits. These collectively negotiated benefits may compensate to a certain degree for solidarity losses caused by retrenchment policies.

Missed opportunities: conservative discourses in the draft National Family Policy of South Africa

T. Hochfeld

International Social Work, vol.50, 2007, p. 79-81

The final draft of the forthcoming National Family Policy describes contemporary family problems and challenges in South Africa and distils the Department for Social Development's vision for the future of the family as well as intervention imperatives for social workers and other practitioners. This article highlights problematic discourses and conservative conceptions of families, motherhood and fatherhood embedded in the document, focusing on the discourses of self-reliance and of families as a source of care and on the roles assigned to mothers (carers) and fathers (mainly absent or sources of harm).

Multiculturalism and the welfare state: recognition and redistribution in contemporary democracies

K. Banting and W. Kymlicka (editors)

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006

The growing diversity of Western societies has created pressures for the construction of new and more inclusive forms of citizenship and national identity. During the last decades of the twentieth century many Western democracies adopted multicultural policies for immigrant groups, recognized land claims and self-government rights for indigenous peoples and accepted territorial autonomy and language rights for national minorities. These multicultural policies went beyond the protection of the basic civil and political rights guaranteed to all individuals in a liberal-democratic state, to also extend some level of public recognition and support for ethnocultural minorities to maintain and express their distinct identities and practices. The book examines the effect of multicultural policies on the welfare state. In particular it examines the belief that there is a trade-off between policies of multicultural recognition and policies of economic redistribution.

Understanding the recent expansion of Swiss family policy: an idea centred approach

D. Kuebler

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 36, 2007, p. 217-237

This article uses an idea-centred approach, the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), to explain recent family policy change in Switzerland. In a review of conflicts over the introduction of paid maternity leave and child day care during the 1990s, two competing advocacy coalitions were identified. The first coalition aimed to restrict government programmes to the prevention of family poverty, while the second advocated the inclusion of measures to promote gender equality. Towards the end of the 1990s, some members of the first advocacy coalition revised their policy core beliefs and changed coalitions. This led to a power shift within the family policy subsystem, resulting in a major change in government programmes at all state levels

The welfare state reader (2nd edition)

C. Pierson and F. G. Castles (editors)

Cambridge: Polity, 2006

The book is a collection of classic texts and recent contributions to the contemporary and comparative analysis of welfare states. It covers traditional theories and perspectives, evolving debates and new political responses to enduring and recent challenges to maintaining social policy provision on a large scale. The book is organized around a series of current debates: on welfare regimes, on globalisation, on Europeanization, on demographic change and on the political challenges of the new century. There are also two sections devoted to the futures of welfare - assessing the new risks and new opportunities that confront policy-makers in an increasingly complex political environment.

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