This introductory text sets out seven important theoretical perspectives through which to make sense of historical and contemporary changes in, and struggles around, social welfare systems and provisions. Through examination of liberalism, Marxism, neo-liberalism, post-structuralism, political economy, political ecology, and postmodernism, the authors provide an introduction to the theoretical frameworks within which the sociological perspectives on welfare have been formulated. At the same time they highlight some of the social and political contexts within which the concepts, categories, and logics of these theories are situated. They also examine core issues such as the point of theory in the analysis of welfare and present definitions of theory, social welfare, the welfare state, and the state. The book shows how social theories construct the relationships between state, society, economy, culture, environment, production, consumption, and other forms of individual and collective action and experience. It is specifically written for social policy studentsùto lay the foundation of knowledge that will inform every facet of their undergraduate work.
PART ONE: ENLIGHTENMENT AND PROGRESS
PART TWO: AGAINST ENLIGHTENMENT: QUESTIONS ON POWER AND KNOWLEDGE
PART THREE: POST-ENLIGHTENMENT PROBLEMATICS
Critiques and Conclusion