Despite rising interest in the significance of social policy and the importance of social protection for the management of welfare and risk in the developing world, there has been little corresponding agreement about the utility of social policy as an academic field for developing contexts; especially, the extent to which the analytic frameworks of social policy, established in the industrialized West, are transportable to a developing country context. This chapter outlines the discourse about the desirability and feasibility of social policy in low income countries and examines the extent to which some of the key actors, institutions and ideas involved in shaping social policy in the Global South vary from those in the North. The discussion focuses on three current issues – the emergence of new philanthropic donors, the expansion of the developmental state model, and the surfacing of the notion of social rights and social citizenship _ and suggests that there is evidence of both continued divergence but also new convergence across the actors, institutions and ideas in both hemispheres. The chapter cautions, however, that growing heterogeneity within the developing world and the dynamic pace of change means a linear trajectory or ‘catch-up logic’ with the West remains questionable.
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