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Welfare rewritten: Change and interlay in social and economic accounts

Harris, P. (2002) Welfare rewritten: Change and interlay in social and economic accounts. Journal of Social Policy, 31 (03). pp. 377-398.

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The broad contours of the move from the old to the new welfare are well established but the changes in social theory which bear on this have been relatively neglected. Also neglected are the links between these theoretical positions and contemporaneous shifts in economic thought. Drawing on the works of Titmuss, Marshall, Putnam and Etzioni, this paper traces how understandings of social cohesion, social provision, responsibility and obligation have shifted over time. It then indicates the relationship between these constructions and parallel developments in economic theory. Here attention is drawn to a fundamental ideological tension between communitarian and neo-classical accounts. It is argued that governments attempt to resolve this tension by projecting notions of moral disintegration onto welfare claimants. Alternatives to the new welfare are canvassed in the final section of the paper.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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