The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy (4th edition)

Joel Blau
Pub date
Mar 2014
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The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy uses the lens of an innovative policy model and an emphasis on social change to break new ground in social welfare policy texts. Starting from the explicit premise that every kind of social work practice embodies a social policy, the book stresses that policy knowledge enables social workers to help clients as well as to help themselves. Drawing on this awareness, the text then makes the standard social welfare policy material come alive by asking two new questions: 1) what factors trigger social change in these social policies?; and 2) how do these factors affect the social policies that influence what social workers actually do? To answer these questions, it develops a five-part policy model, which shows, through full chapters on each subject, how economics, politics, ideology, social movements, and the history of social welfare define social welfare policy.


PART I Introducing Social Welfare Policy
1 Introduction: Social Problems, Social Policy, Social Change
How Are Social Problems Constructed?
Who Gets to Define a Social Problem?
Social Policy and Social Work
Theories of Social Change
Change and Social Welfare Policy: A Policy Model
The Triggers of Social Change: An Overview
2 Definition and Functions of Social Welfare Policy: Setting the Stage for Social Change Mimi Abramovitz
What Is Social Welfare Policy?
Broadening the Definition of Social Welfare Policy
Deepening the Definition of Social Welfare Policy
Competing Functions of Social Welfare Policy
Overview of Major Social Welfare Programs
Organizing Principles: Who Benefits from Universal or Selective Provision?
PART II The Policy Model
3 The Economy and Social Welfare
The Words We Use
The Structure of the Economy
Measuring the Functioning of the Economy
The Terms and Tools of Economic Policy
Social Welfare and the Economy in Historical Context
Production for Profit versus Production for Need
The Economy versus Social Welfare?
Downsizing and Outsourcing
Trade Unions
The Minimum Wage
Enron and the Corporate Scandals
A New Economic Crisis
4 The Politics of Social Welfare Policy
Political Science Theories: Decision Making, Definitions of Democracy, and Majority Rule
Definitions of Democracy
The American System of Government: Federalism
U.S. Government: Its Distinctive Characteristics
Divided Government
The Political Functions of Social Welfare
The Implications for Social Welfare Policy
5 Ideological Perspectives and Conflicts Mimi Abramovitz
What Is Ideology?
Social Welfare Ideology and Social Change
The Ideology of Human Nature
The General Welfare: Individuals in Society
The Ideology of the Definition of Need
The Ideology of the Role of the Government
The Ideology of Work and the Work Ethic
The Ideology of Family
The Ideology of Racial Inequality
Ideologies of Professionalism
6 Social Movements and Social Change Mimi Abramovitz
Ways of Becoming Active
Social Movements, Contradictions, and Social Change
Theories of Social Movements
From Theory to Practice: Using Ideology When Seeking Social Change
7 Social Welfare History in the United States
The Ambiguities of U.S. Social Welfare History
What the British Brought
Social Welfare in the Colonies (1619-1783)
Independence to the End of the Civil War (1783-1865)
The End of the Civil War to the Progressive Era (1865-1900)
The Progressive Era to the New Deal (1900-1932)
The New Deal to World War II (1933-1945)
Post-World War II to the Great Society (1946-1968)
1969-2008: The Conservative Response
A New, New Deal? 2009-Present
The Historical Patterns
PART III Policy Analyses: Applying the Policy Model
8 Income Support: Programs and Policies
Social Change Triggers
Social Security
Disability Insurance
Supplemental Security Income
Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Workers' Compensation
Earned Income Tax Credit
General Assistance Programs
Individual Development Accounts
The Basic Income Grant
Social Movements
9 Jobs and Job Training: Programs and Policies
The Context for Employment Policy
Classifying Federal Job Programs
Employment Training Programs: What Do We Know?
The Politics of Employment Programs
Social Movements
10 Housing: Programs and Policies
The Context for Housing Policy
Social Change Triggers
The Housing Bubble
Housing Programs
Social Movements
11 Health Care: Programs and Policies
Social Change Triggers
Social Programs
The Inadequacies of the U.S. Health Care System
Social Movements
12 Food and Hunger: Programs and Policies
Social Change Triggers
Food Programs
Classifying Food Programs: Who, What, to Whom, and at Whose Expense
Social Movements
PART IV Conclusions
13 If You Want to Analyze a Policy...
Figure Credits

About the author: 

Joel Blau, DSW, is Professor of Social Policy at the School of Social Welfare, Stony Brook University. Mimi Abramovitz, DSW, is Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy, Hunter College School of Social Work and The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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