Handbook on Society and Social Policy
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Handbook on Society and Social Policy

Edited by Nicholas Ellison and Tina Haux

This comprehensive Handbook provides a unique overview of the key issues and challenges facing society and social policy in the twenty-first century, discussing how welfare is conceptualised, organised and delivered in contemporary global society. Chapters engage with specific areas of social policy as well as with the social divisions and institutional infrastructures that underpin them. The Handbook also considers how social policy should respond to the challenges posed by austerity, human migration and the climate crisis.
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Chapter 36: Transnational social vulnerabilities and reconfigurations of social policy

Erica Righard and Mikael Spång


Public social policy was institutionalized at a time of intense nation-state building; it was shaped by, and contributed to the closure of the Westphalian system of social protection. Today’s globalization processes in general, and population mobility and cross-border dynamics of social problems in particular, challenge such framings of social problems and policy interventions. The ‘mobility turn’ within the social sciences has brought forward relevant theoretical tools and perspectives for the unbounding of the social from such national framings. This chapter contributes to this debate by reviewing two kinds of social policy developments in which this unbounding is evident, though varying in scope and dynamics. The first example draws on a single-case study of the public old-age pension in Sweden; it shows how this has included national and foreign citizens who have immigrated to and emigrated from Sweden in varying degrees over time. The second example points the growing importance of international organizations in field of public health, compared to the inter-war era of international cooperation, and discusses the implications of this for rights-based health care. The chapter suggests a denationalized epistemology as a fruitful way forward for debates about social justice and social policy within and across countries in the globalized society.

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