Welfare Theory and Social Policy provides an introduction to, and development of, current debates about the nature of welfare. It will be essential reading for all students and lecturers of social policy and the politics of the welfare state.
@3In Britain, socialist analyses of welfare have conventionally divided into one of two hostile camps -- Fabian and Marxist. The Fabian tradition is empiricist and reformist and works within the capitalist system to eradicate inequalities and improve the provision of welfare. This tradition has, to a large extent, informed the policies of Labour governments. Against this tradition has been set the Marxist school. This has been critical, not only of the performance of the welfare state, but also of the belief that welfare provision under capitalism can achieve significant social change.
@3In this major new text Phil Lee and Colin Raban examine these two traditions, looking at the key questions which face both in the context of the modern welfare state. Is reformism and political pragmatism necessarily at odds with a theoretically informed critique of the inequalities of the capitalist system? With the future of the welfare state thrown in doubt by the new right, do Marxists need to modify their analysis of the fate of welfare reforms as little more than instruments of social control?
Drawing on the latest work in critical social policy from both traditions, the authors argue that it is an urgent political necessity that each learn from the strengths of the other. Only in this way can welfare be defended and advanced in a way which is both intellectually coherent and politically feasible.