Values and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective
Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Michael Opiekla and Birgit Pfau-Effinger
Chapter 6: European and American Welfare Values: Case Studies in Cash Benefits Reform
6. European and American welfare values: case studies in cash beneﬁts reform Robert Walker The main title above, ‘European and American welfare values’, is intimidating in its scope and level of generality. With welfare and values broadly deﬁned, it seems to demand a comprehensive account of the culture and lives of a sixth of the people on the planet. The subtitle, ‘Case studies in cash beneﬁts reform’, deﬁnes a more manageable task that can still inform broader issues. The intention is to explore similarity and diﬀerence and to engage the reader in attributing meaning to any diﬀerences revealed. The focus on reform is deliberate since it is at times of reform that values are most likely to be made explicit in policy proposals and legislation, and for culture to be exposed in the limits to reform, both in terms of the opportunity sets of reforms considered and in the opposition engendered by them (Walker, 2005). The concentration on cash beneﬁts is pragmatic. Deﬁned to include contributory, means-tested and citizenship beneﬁts, but restricted to those aimed at persons of working age, this focus reveals important fault-lines in cultures, culture being deﬁned as a term ‘summing up beliefs, norms, institutions and traditional ways of “doing things” in a society’ (Zetterholm, 1994: 2). Cultures are constantly evolving and diﬀerentiated products stemming from the actions and interactions of individuals, with some groups having the power to inﬂuence cultural processes more than others...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.