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Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

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Gary Craig

In this editorial introduction, the editor reflects on the general nature of the concept of social justice, using the position of minority ethnic groups as a case example (to be developed in a later chapter). The rationale for the book is outlined: to retrieve social justice as a concept owned by the political left (and not a term which can be used from a variety of political standpoints), to understand how the concept might be understood in a number of national contexts, and to illuminate how the concept of social justice informs practice in a number of welfare contexts. Furthermore, because most of the debates in the book are set within a liberal ‘Western’ paradigm, the chapter begins a discussion about how the concept of social justice might be understood in other religious and national settings.

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Edited by Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell

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Jens Bartelson, Martin Hall and Jan Teorell

This introduction outlines the main problem areas addressed by this volume. In academic international relations, comparative politics and historical sociology, the study of state making has traditionally been focused on the emergence of states in early modern Europe. The introduction makes the case for a de-centering of the study of state making, by shifting its focus to other historical and geographical contexts. It also elaborates on the preconditions for such de-centering, by discussing how the anachronism and Eurocentrism widespread within this field are best overcome. The authors conclude that this is best accomplished by aligning the concerns of comparative politics and international relations more closely, by moving beyond the tendency to accord primacy to warfare when explaining the making of states, and, finally, by overcoming the divide between materialistic and ideational approaches to state making. This is followed by a brief overview and discussion of individual contributions.

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Henning Lohmann and Ive Marx

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Peter A.G. van Bergeijk and Rolph van der Hoeven

Peter van Bergeijk and Rolph van der Hoeven discuss the design and development of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) and their strengths and weaknesses. Based on the findings in this edited volume they point out persistent high and/or growing national inequality in different regions in the world. The absence of any concern for inequality in the predecessors of the SDGs, the Millennium Development Goals was a great omission as reducing income inequality is one of the most important challenges countries are facing. Although the SDGs contain a goal to reduce inequality (goal 10) the target related to this goal is wholly insufficient as it relates only to progress of the bottom 40 per cent of the population. There is no sensible indicator to attest the growing importance of the growing cleavage between income of work and income of capital and the income of super rich (the top-1 per cent) which manifest themselves in much more visible form in emerging and in developed countries. The authors argues that concern for income inequality should receive far greater attention in the implementation of the SDGs

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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

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Ian Bache and Louise Reardon

The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in governmental interest in the idea of wellbeing. At international level, there are initiatives within the EU, OECD, UN and at national level, within states as diverse and geographically spread as Australia, Bhutan, Ecuador, France and Morocco. This chapter outlines the nature and development of this rising interest in wellbeing before articulating some of the challenges wellbeing presents to economics and politics. It explains why these developments demand the attention of political analysts and outlines the key contribution of the book as the first theoretically and empirically informed analysis of the rise and significance of wellbeing in politics and policy. In addition, it identifies the two main questions of the study as: 1. How and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda? 2. What are the policy implications of this rising interest in the idea of wellbeing?