A Handbook of Comparative Social Policy
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A Handbook of Comparative Social Policy

Edited by Patricia Kennett

The current context of social policy is one in which many of the old certainties of the past have been eroded. The predominantly inward-looking, domestic preoccupation of social policy has made way for a more integrated, international and outward approach to analysis which looks beyond the boundaries of the state. It is in this context that this Handbook brings together the work of key commentators in the field of comparative analysis in order to provide comprehensive coverage of contemporary debates and issues in cross-national social policy research.
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Chapter 12: Social Development and Social Welfare: Implications for Social Policy

James Midgley


James Midgley While international social policy was previously regarded as an exotic and highly specialized activity to be pursued by experts who were uniquely equipped to travel to distant regions and understand unfamiliar cultures, comparative inquiry has today become commonplace. Mirroring the ready accessibility of global information, and the ease with which people travel and communicate internationally, publications on international social welfare now appear with what seems to be monotonous regularity, international content is increasingly incorporated into local journals and textbooks, students are routinely exposed to developments in other countries, and international issues are even debated at local conferences and meetings. These developments reflect a rapidly expanding interest in international social welfare in Europe and North America. Social policy scholarship in the Global North now routinely transcends the preoccupation with domestic activities that previously characterized Western social policy inquiry. Social welfare systems in other nations have been extensively documented and analysed, typologies that classify different state welfare systems have been constructed and causal factors responsible for welfare effort have been identified. As a result of these activities, social policy scholarship has evolved and expanded its interests in ways that are compatible with the emergent realities of a global, one-world system. However, comparative social policy inquiry is still challenged by problems that have not been adequately recognized, let alone addressed. One problem concerns the way comparative social policy has been defined and shaped by scholars in the Global North. This has resulted in what may be called a...

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