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

An African American welfare state

S. Pimpare

New Political Science, vol.29, 2007, p. 313-331

The history of the American welfare state has been told from a white viewpoint, because scholars have presumed that it is a benevolent institution which exists to help those in need. However American poor relief has also functioned to regulate the sexual, reproductive and labour market behaviour of vulnerable populations. This article focuses on repressive institutions which have been used to commodify labour by compelling it from certain classes of citizens, especially Black Americans: slavery and its successors (sharecropping, tenancy and convict labour), the Black New Deal during the Great Depression and the prison. It distinguishes between a benevolent white welfare state and an African American welfare state which has been dominated by institutions of repression and control.

Discourse, learning and welfare state change: the case of German labour market reforms

M. Seeleib-Kaiser and T. Fleckenstein

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 41, 2007, p. 427-448

This article argues that Germany has significantly changed its approach to labour market policies in recent years, following in many cases the example of Britain. The authors begin by contrasting the historic German conservative and UK liberal approaches to labour market policies. They then trace in detail the nature of changes to German labour market policies since the 1990s. Theories explaining welfare state and labour market policy change are then reviewed. Finally, using the policy transfer framework, the authors show that with regard to specific policy instruments German policymakers have learnt from UK experience.

Liberalism, postmodernism and welfare policy

E.J. Martin

New Political Science, vol. 29, 2007, p. 333-347

This article attempts to analyse the underlying principles in the debate over the legitimacy of welfare policy and income support. A case is made that welfare rights need to be rethought in a postmodern society. A post-modern welfare policy should embrace the notions that:

  1. society has a 'duty' to help the poor attain their basic human needs
  2. a particular 'right' is claimed by the poor from society to help them secure their basic human needs
  3. the role of government is to assist welfare recipients in formulating policies and programmes that work in some optimal fashion to suit their particular needs.
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