Edited by Rebecca Surender and Robert Walker
Chapter 2: The role of historical contexts in shaping social policy in the global South
The emergence of new forms of social protection and welfare arrangements in developing countries has recently drawn attention to the extent to which the traditional frameworks and models of comparative welfare policy and advanced welfare capitalism are analytically applicable to the developing and transitional worlds of the South and the East. There are compelling grounds to argue that they are not. Gough et al. (2004) were among the first to direct our attention to the fact that the evolution of policies and activities oriented to welfare goals in the West has relied on several key factors that are largely absent in a development context: an autonomous, legitimized and capable state, a pervasive labour market and division of labour, robust financial markets and an established legal and judicial system – in short, a capitalist economic and a democratic political system. Key among these factors for the purpose of social policy analysis is the role of the state – both its capacity and its legitimacy. In a development context, it is recognized that the state has been historically weak in terms of institutional power (in particular, a mature and independent bureaucracy characterized by continuity, impartiality and expertise) and functional capability (the fiscal and human resource capacity of systems and staff) (Wood and Gough 2006). In the contexts of development and social policy, the state is neither a primary agent for programmatic development and implementation nor an enabling structure providing infrastructural or regulatory support (Gough 2005; Kohli 2006).
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