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

Citizenship in Nordic welfare states: dynamics of choice, duties and participation in a changing Europe

B. Hvinden and H. Johansson

London: Routledge, 2007

The book offers an analysis of the ways in which the relationship between citizens and welfare states (social citizenship) becomes more dynamic and multifaceted as a result of Europeanization and individualization. It includes interdisciplinary perspectives and examines the transformation of social citizenship through a series of illuminating case studies, comparing Nordic countries and other European nations. It deals with the following areas of national and European welfare policy, legislation and practice:

  • activation reforms linking income maintenance and employment promotion
  • the scope for participation of marginal groups in deliberation and decision-making
  • the impact of human rights legislation for welfare and legal protection against discrimination and social barriers to equal market participation
  • the coordination of social security systems to facilitate cross-border mobility in Europe
  • pension reform efforts to make pension systems sustainable.

The Korean welfare state: a paradox of expansion in an era of globalisation and economic crisis

S. Kwon and I. Holliday

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 16, 2007, p. 242-248

In the late 1990s Korea was badly affected by the Asian financial crisis and policymakers responded by extending state social welfare provision. The authors suggest that the extent of the reforms undertaken has been exaggerated by many analysts. In fact, when the reality of Korean social policy is separated from the rhetoric that surrounded it, it becomes clear that the extensions to welfare provision that took place in the late 1990s were rather modest. They did not alter the fundamental character of Korean welfare capitalism, which remains productivity. The expansion of the Korean welfare state turns out to be more of a response to economic crisis and an attempt to bolster industrial competitiveness and economic growth by increasing labour market flexibility.

Latin America: a new developmental welfare state model in the making?

M. Riesco (editor)

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007

The book provides a wealth of country-level socioeconomic data and individual historical trajectories to show a region where a novel development strategy may be in the making. Emerging from the neoliberalism experiences of the last century, the twenty-first century Latin American developmental welfare state model is based on a new public-private alliance, where state-led developmental social policy relies for its implementation mainly on proactive, emerging, regional entrepreneurs and a growing middle class. These groups, together with a renewed public sector, seem poised to lead the development prospects of the region and its peoples in the new century.

Making it personal: individualising activation services in the EU

R. van Berkel and B. Valkenburg (editors)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2007

Public social services are increasingly being individualised in order to better meet the differentiated needs of competent and independent citizens and to promote the effectiveness of social interventions. This book addresses this development, focusing on a new type of social services that has become crucial in the 'modernisation' of welfare states: activation services. The book discusses and analyses the individualisation of activation services against the background of social policy reforms on the one hand, and the introduction of new forms of public governance on the other. Critically discussing the rise of individualised social services in the light of various theoretical points of view, it analyses the way in which activation and the 'active subject' are presented in EU discourse. It compares the introduction of individualised activation services in five EU welfare states: the UK, Germany, Italy, Finland and the Czech Republic, focusing on official policies as well as policy practices.

Poverty and fundamental rights: the justification and enforcement of socio-economic rights

D. Blichitz

Oxford: OUP, 2007

Socio-economic rights have been widely regarded as aspirational goals, rhetorically useful, but having few practical implications for government policy and the distribution of resources within a polity. It is not therefore surprising that socio-economic rights have been systematically neglected in the world today, with millions still lacking access to basic shelter, food or health-care. This book seeks to provide a sustained argument for placing renewed emphasis upon socio-economic rights in the fight against desperate poverty. It utilizes a combination of political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy in its focus and analyzes why violations of socio-economic rights are treated with less urgency than violations of civil and political rights.

Social report 2006: the national report on social conditions in Sweden

D. Biterman (editor)

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 16, 2007, supplement 1, 239p.

Some of the most distinguished Swedish scholars analyse the country's many and varied data sources that throw light on a wide range of social issues including: the labour market, financial poverty, the social consequences of illness, residential segregation, children at risk, the social situation of older people, and marginalised groups. This special issue should interest observers of the Swedish welfare state and be a useful tool in helping scholars to explore social conditions in their own countries.

Women's political representation and welfare state spending in 12 capitalist democracies

C. Bolzendahl and C. Brooks

Social Forces, vol. 85, 2007, p.1509-1534

It is being argued that women affect welfare state development by shaping policy discourses, mobilising in various women's organisations, and at times gaining power in the political and economic spheres. However, few of these hypotheses have been evaluated using quantitative data. This article seeks to advance welfare state research by investigating links between women's political representation and welfare state spending using OECD data on 12 capitalist democracies between 1980 and 1999. The results provide initial evidence that women's legislative presence influences the extent of welfare state spending. Increases in women's labour market participation are also closely related to increases in women's membership in national legislatures.

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