Social Policy Degree Essay

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Social policy, defined in its narrow sense is "the study of social needs and functioning, in conditions of scarcity, human organisation to meet those needs" (Titmuss, 1976, p. 20). In this respect, the determination of social needs, and the manner of functioning, depends largely on the factors that affect policy-making, deciding on the proper redistribution of these scare resources to meet societal needs.


According to Tony Fitzpatrick (2001, p. 89), "the emphasis in policymaking is now on minimizing risks rather than maximising social justice." This shift in policy focus can be assessed as a shift in the dominant regime prevalent among policymakers (Esping-Anderson, 1990), shaped by the political and cultural processes of dominant social groups and ideologies. One can view these developments as fuelled by factors such as the political consensus prevalent after World War II, which established the need for social democracy and its universal ethic of universalism that created the welfare state (Pierson, 1998). Thus, the growth of welfare states is the result of the growing impact of ideas regarding social justice in forming the dominant regime of liberal democracy. Furthermore, the focus on minimising risks can therefore be viewed as a shift in the dominance of a liberal welfare regime towards a more corporatist welfare regime, where ideas of "communitarian social market economics" views the welfare regime as "a facilitator of group based mutual aid and risk pooling" as opposed to having a welfare role (Goodin, et al., p. 39).
The welfare state, however, is in a state of crisis, such tha ...
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