Policy Press

Human dignity and welfare systems

By Chak Kwan Chan and Graham Bowpitt


Oct 19, 2005

Page count

256 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
Human dignity and welfare systems

Pro-'workfare' governments justify their policies by claiming 'workfare' helps enhance self-esteem and promote the dignity of unemployed recipients. On the other hand, welfare activists argue that 'workfare' suppresses the dignity of unemployed persons.

This book examines the concept of human dignity in this context and attempts to clarify its meaning. For the first time, it formulates a framework for evaluating the dignity of welfare recipients; uses this framework to explore the dignity of unemployed persons in four different welfare systems: UK, Sweden, China and Hong Kong and compares the conditions of human dignity in each case and identifies factors which enhance or suppress it.

Human dignity and welfare systems is important reading for students and academics in the fields of social policy, social work, philosophy and politics. It is also a useful reference text for politicians, welfare administrators and activists.

"Chan and Bowpitt's study provides a fresh approach to exploring welfare systems ... it provides a thorough, detailed analysis from an original perspective." British Journal of Social Work

"The issues the book addresses are important for policy-makers and administrators, for social workers and other front line staff and for the academic community." International Journal of Social Welfare

"Social policy has suffered from a dearth of high-quality discussion of the ethical and cultural dimensions of welfare theories. By comparing the systems and conceptions of social welfare in four different countries, the UK, China, Sweden and Hong Kong, the authors enhance our understanding of social welfare globally." Dr C.W. Lam,

Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong

Chak Kwan Chan is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Before that, he was Associate Professor at Macau Polytechnic and Post-doctoral Fellow at Chinese University of Hong Kong. His main research areas are social security, poverty and Christian welfare practices.

Graham Bowpitt is Social Policy Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at Nottingham Trent University, UK. He has obtained various research grants for evaluating Sure Start and the services of the Children's Fund. His main research areas are Christian welfare ideologies, homelessness and evaluating strategies for tackling social exclusion.

Contents: Human dignity and social policy; Rationality, sociability and human dignity; Respect, social participation and four welfare states; Hong Kong and human dignity; China and human dignity; The United Kingdom and human dignity; Sweden and human dignity; Comparing human dignity in four welfare systems; Human dignity and the classification of welfare systems.

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