A central theme of this lively and accessible text is that theory helps us to understand policy, politics and practice. The book combines an in-depth exploration of selected theoretical perspectives and concepts with the student-friendly format of the Understanding Welfare series. The author uses diverse examples from contemporary social policy to help theoretical arguments come alive. It should provide a key text for 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates and postgraduates in social policy and related subjects, as well as their teachers.
"..provides an excellent text for students of social policy, particularly those taking second and third year courses in the topic." Critical Social Policy
"Lucid, comprehensive and even-handed." Journal of Social Policy
"This is an admirably clear and comprehensive account of the theories and concepts of contemporary social policy. Excellent and essential for undergraduate and postgraduate social policy and social theory courses. " Fiona Williams, Professor of Social Policy, University of Leeds
"Theory has rarely been so interesting, lively, engaging and real. Ruth Lister has produced a text of great scholarship and a tour de force". Saul Becker, University of Nottingham
Ruth Lister CBE is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University and was recently appointed a Labour peer. She is a former director of the Child Poverty Action Group and was a member of the National Equality Panel, the Commission on Social Justice and various other commissions. She is a Fellow of the British Academy. She has published widely in the areas of gender, poverty and inequality, citizenship and welfare reform
Introduction: laying the groundwork
Part One: Theoretical perspectives in the political arena: Dominant post-war ideological perspectives: from 'middle way' to 'third way' and beyond; Critical perspectives: Marxism, feminism, anti-racism and environmentalism;
Part Two: Theoretical perspectives as an analytical tool: Post-Fordism and postmodernism; Social control, regulation and resistance; What's the problem? Social constructionism;
Part Three: Concepts: Needs; Citizenship and community; Liberty, equality and social justice; Bringing it all together.