Research Handbook on Human Rights and Poverty
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Poverty

Edited by Martha F. Davis, Morten Kjaerum and Amanda Lyons

This important Research Handbook explores the nexus between human rights, poverty and inequality as a critical lens for understanding and addressing key challenges of the coming decades, including the objectives set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. The Research Handbook starts from the premise that poverty is not solely an issue of minimum income and explores the profound ways that deprivation and distributive inequality of power and capability relate to economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.
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Chapter 23: A human rights critique of contemporary social policy paradigms: new behaviourism, social investment and new universalism

Volkan Yilmaz


How can a human rights perspective push the study of ideas and paradigms in social policy toward a better understanding of their human rights implications? How can the social policy discipline, with its theories, conceptual tools and methodologies, inform the human rights scholarship? Based on an intellectual attempt to bridging the rights-based approach to social policy and the social provision approach to human rights, this chapter offers a critical and contextual analysis of three dominant global paradigms in contemporary social policy literature - namely, new behaviourism, social investment and new universalism. Relying on a comprehensive review of the recent literature on selected social policy paradigms, this chapter uses human rights as a perspective to explore and discuss how the selected paradigms either implicitly or explicitly approach and respond to poverty and conceive of the state’s obligation to alleviate poverty.

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