The history of social policy is emerging as an area of growing interest to both students and researchers. This topical book charts the period from the 1830s to the present day, providing a fresh analysis of the relationship between social theory and social policy in the UK.
Drawing on recent historical research, the book:
* reconsiders and challenges many long-held beliefs about the 'evolution' of social policy;
* presents a wide-ranging reappraisal of links between social theories and changes in social policy;
* pays particular attention to the importance of idealist social thought as an intellectual framework for understanding the 'welfare state' ;
* has a distinctive focus on the importance of ideas in the history of social policy.
John Offer is Professor of Social Theory and Policy in the School of Policy Studies at the University of Ulster, Coleraine. His main research interests are the history of ideas in respect of UK social policy, the social theory of Herbert Spencer, informal care and voluntary action, and the sociology of professional interventions in everyday social life.
Contents: Images of welfare: conceptual bearings; 'The most pressing of evils': outdoor relief, the Poor Law and social theory; Herbert Spencer, beneficiance and voluntaryism; Charity: the engine of social progress; 'A definite minimum of civilised life': Hobson, Hobhouse and the Webbs; Beveridge; Idealist thought, Titmuss and the new subject of social administration; Non-idealism resurgent: the rediscovery of informal care and welfare pluralism; New Labour and a new idealism: the state, voluntary action and the 'Third Way'; Conclusion.