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Social Policy, 3rd Edition



Social Policy, 3rd Edition

Hartley Dean

ISBN: 978-1-509-52409-9 March 2019 Polity 176 Pages

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How do human societies provide for the wellbeing of their members? How far can we organize the ways in which we care for and about each other? And who should take responsibility for providing the support we need? These are some of the fundamental questions addressed by social policy today.

In this introduction, Hartley Dean explains the extraordinary scope and importance of social policy. He explores its foundations and contemporary significance; the principal issues it addresses and their diverse economic, political and sociological dimensions, and concludes by looking anew at fundamental challenges facing social policy in a dramatically changing world.

Introducing social policy as a broadly conceived study of human wellbeing, this revised and extensively updated third edition examines ways in which governments and peoples throughout the world attend to, promote, neglect or even undermine the things that make life worth living. These include essential services like healthcare and education; the means of livelihood – jobs and money – and sometimes intangible things such as physical and emotional security. Trying to understand these elements, which together constitute human wellbeing, is the stuff of social policy.


List of Figures, Tables and Boxes



1 What is Social Policy?

2 Where did it Come From?

3 Why on Earth does it Matter?

4 What does Human Wellbeing Entail?

5 Who Gets What?

6 Who's in Control?

7 What's the Trouble with Human Society?

8 Can Social Policy Solve Social Problems?

9 How are the Times a-Changing?

10 Where is Social Policy Going?



This third edition has been thoroughly revised and updated, including: (a) The author’s own thinking linking human needs and social rights, which has lately crystallised around a 'post-Marshallian concept of social rights'; a concept which - if practically and accessibly explained - would help to centre and further clarify the approach to Social Policy that previous editions have already taken. (b) New (or resurgent) debates concerning, for example, welfare austerity, precarité and contested notions of 'social investment'. (c) Added focus on the global context and its relevance for Social Policy, especially the ever intensifying significance of migration trends, but also the shifting balance between supra-national and devolved forms of governance. (d) The concluding chapter (on 'The Future of Social Policy') presents a starker view of future options, bringing a slightly different (and perhaps less abstract) emphasis.

‘Hartley Dean’s passion for social policy shines through this work like a bright light. His lively and accessible book is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about the contemporary relevance of social policy and its possibilities in a changing world.’
Mary Daly, University of Oxford

‘A lively, very interesting and thought-provoking introduction to a subject that is of increasing concern to us all.’
Nick Ellison, University of York