Colonialism and Welfare

Colonialism and Welfare

Social Policy and the British Imperial Legacy

Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud

The British Empire covered three centuries, five continents and one-quarter of the world’s population. Its legacy continues, shaping the societies and welfare policies of much of the modern world. In this book, for the first time, this legacy is explored and analysed.

Preface

Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy

Extract

International social policy research has expanded rapidly over the last two decades. In addition to documenting and analysing the social policies of the Western nations, much more is now known about the welfare systems of other countries and particularly the developing countries of the Global South. However, as is widely recognized, many gaps remain. One major gap is the neglect of the role of European imperialism in shaping the social policies in those territories that were formerly subjected to imperial rule. Although this may be viewed as an esoteric topic, social policy in the developing world cannot be understood without examining the way welfare policies and programmes introduced during the imperial era have continued to influence current policy making. Unfortunately, contemporary international social policy scholarship has seriously neglected this issue. This book seeks to fill this gap by examining the way the social policies of the countries that were formerly a part of the British Empire were shaped by the British imperial legacy. The failure to properly analyse the effects of colonialism and imperialism on welfare systems has impeded a full understanding of international social policy issues, particularly in the developing countries. By addressing this neglected topic, the book examines diverse aspects of colonialism and social welfare and makes a significant contribution to current international social policy debates. Although primarily concerned with the British imperial legacy, its premise applies to European imperialism in general and has relevance for analysing social policies in many parts of the world today. The book...