Handbook on East Asian Social Policy
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Handbook on East Asian Social Policy

Edited by Misa Izuhara

Dramatic socio-economic transformations over the last two decades have brought social policy and social welfare issues to prominence in many East Asian societies. Since the 1990s and in response to national as well as global pressure, there have been substantial developments and reforms in social policy in the region but the development paths have been uneven. Until recently, comparative analysis of East Asian social policy tends to have focused on the established welfare state of Japan and the emerging welfare regimes of four ‘Tiger Economies’. Much of the recent debate indeed preceded China’s re-emergence onto the world economy. In this context, this Handbook brings China more fully into the contemporary social policy debates in East Asia. Organised around five themes from welfare state developments, to theories and methodologies, to current social policy issues, the Handbook presents original research from leading specialists in the fields, and provides a fresh and updated perspective to the study of social policy.
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Chapter 12: Social protection, governance and the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in East Asia

Patricia Kennett, Kam Wah Chan and Lucille Lok-Sun Ngan


This chapter draws together the economic, political, social and cultural dimensions associated with social protection and governance and seeks to establish the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in four East Asian societies. The research includes: the democratic, developmental states of Taiwan (the Republic of China, ROC) and South Korea; Hong Kong, a ‘ neo-liberal market economy’ without full democracy and a special administrative region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China, in the context of‘ one country, two systems’; and China, one of the most dynamic economies in the world since its transformation to ‘market socialism’ and export-led growth in the 1980s. Thus, all four societies have experienced substantial change relatively recently, with both continuity and transformation in social protection and governance practices and processes. Given the size of and variations within and between these four societies the empirical focus is on the cities of Beijing, Taipei and Seoul and the city-state of Hong Kong. The case study locations are not construed as isolated, impermeable locales, but as key sites of contestation in the formation of specific patterns of governance, welfare and inclusion, and in the context of urban, rural and regional differentiation. They represent a context through which to explore and integrate the contradictions, contrasts and dynamics of globalization, governance and social welfare as they have emerged in each society.

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