Social policy scholars and practitioners work with concepts such as “welfare state” and “social security” but where do these concepts come from and how has their meaning changed over time? Which are the dominant social policy concepts and how are they contested? What characterises social policy language in specific countries and regions of the world and how do social concepts travel between countries?
Addressing such questions in a systematic manner for the first time, this edited collection, written by a cross-disciplinary group of leading social policy researchers, analyses the concepts and language used to make sense of contemporary social policy. The volume focuses on OECD countries located on four different continents: Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America. Combining detailed chapters on particular countries with broader comparative chapters, the book strikes a rare balance between case studies and transnational perspectives. It will be of interest to academics and students in social policy, social work, political science, sociology, history, and public administration, as well as practitioners and policy makers.
Daniel Béland holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Policy at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan. He is a specialist of comparative social policy.
Klaus Petersen is Professor in Welfare State History and director of the Centre for Welfare State Research at the University of Southern Denmark. He is an expert on Nordic welfare state history.
Introduction: Social Policy Concepts and Language ~ Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen;
Social Policy Language in Denmark and Sweden ~ Nils Edling, Jørn Henrik Petersen & Klaus Petersen;
The Changing Language of Social Policy in Hungary and Poland ~ Zsófia Aczél, Dorota Szelewa & Dorottya Szikra;
Languages of “Social Policy” at “the EU level” ~ Jean-Claude Barbier;
The OECD’s Search for a New Social Policy Language: From Welfare State to Active Society ~ Rianne Mahon;
The Discursive Power of International Organisations: Social Policy Language and Concepts in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ~ Antje Vetterlein;
Original and Imitated or Elusive and Limited? Towards a Genealogy of the Welfare State Idea in Britain ~ Daniel Wincott;
Social Policy Concepts and Language in France ~ Daniel Béland;
The Language of Social Politics in Finland ~ Pauli Kettunen;
Germany: Constructing the ‘Win-Win’ Society ~ Stephan Lessenich;
Conceptual Development of Welfare and Social Policy in Japan ~ Toshimitsu Shinkawa and Yuki Tsuji;
Transition to the ‘Universal’ Welfare State: The Changing Meaning of “Welfare State” in Korea ~ Huck-ju Kwon;
The Dutch “Caring State” ~ Kees van Kersbergen and Jaap Woldendorp;
Panacea, Problem or Perish: Social Policy Language in New Zealand ~ Neil Lunt;
Evolving Social Policy Languages in Spain: What did Democracy and EU Membership Change? ~ Ana M. Guillén & David Luque;
Social Policy Language in the United States ~ Jennifer Klein, Daniel Béland & Klaus Petersen;
Conclusion: Comparative Perspectives on Social Policy Language ~ Klaus Petersen & Daniel Béland.
"Beland and Petersen's edited volume impresses not just by its vast spatial scope, but also by its analytical depth." Czech Sociological Review
"A pioneering achievement (...) This edited volume stands out for its abundance of material results on the historical development and national differences in social policy language." Contributions to the History of Concepts
“This collection starts from the observation that both concepts deployed by social policy communities vary across space and time and that the same word rarely has a consensual definition across national cases.” Journal of Social Policy.
-Jane Jenson, Université de Montreal
“A must-read for all those interested in the political power of ideas. Both transnational and historical, these explorations of the languages of social policy and welfare reform are as innovative as compelling.” Christoph Conrad, University of Geneva
“Together, Béland and Petersen draw attention to the foundations of social policy and sketch the rudiments of a new research agenda for social policy scholars. The book is a rich and useful volume for anyone interested in comparative social policy and for those concerned with the role of ideas in the history and politics of social policy.” Journal of European Social Policy
-Cecilia Bruzelius, University of Oxford, UK
“This collection provides a fine overview of a neglected area: the use of language in social policy, in which the authors ask what impact words and framing have on the substance of social policy." Mitchell A. Orenstein, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University, USA