The Student's Companion to Social Policy 4e
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More About This Title The Student's Companion to Social Policy 4e


The fourth edition of TheStudent's Companion to Social Policy maintains the text's inimitable and best-selling approach. Written by a wide range of experts in the field, it has been extensively updated and revised to take account of recent developments and debates and changing political and economic configurations. 

Includes an additional five chapter section on the key themes and issues in the development of social policy in the UK since the nineteenth centuryNew to this edition are chapters addressing emergent areas in the discipline, new illustrative material, problem-centred review questions, and a dedicated websiteProvides students with a ‘Companion' which is so comprehensive that it can be used throughout their undergraduate and/or postgraduate studiesMeets the needs both of those specializing in social policy or policy-related occupations and the wide range of students studying it as part of other programmesEnhanced by a website available at, featuring student resources including chapter overviews, study questions, videos, resource guides, and more


Pete Alcock is Professor of Social Policy and Administration and Director of the ESRC Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham. 

Margaret May is Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Social Policy and CHASM, University of Birmingham 

Sharon Wright is Deputy Head of Sociology, Social Policy, and Criminology and lecturer, in the School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling.


Contributors viii

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1

Part I Concepts and Approaches 3

1 The Subject of Social Policy 5
Pete Alcock

2 Approaches and Methods 12
Saul Becker

3 Social Needs, Social Problems, and Social Welfare and Well-being 19
Nick Manning

4 Equality, Rights, and Social Justice 26
Peter Taylor-Gooby

5 Equalities and Human Rights 33
Suzi Macpherson

6 Efficiency, Equity, and Choice 40
Carol Propper

7 Altruism, Reciprocity, and Obligation 48
Hilary Land

Part II Key Perspectives 55

8 Neo-liberalism 57
Nick Ellison

9 The Conservative Tradition 64
Hugh Bochel

10 Social Democracy 70
Robert M. Page

11 Socialist Perspectives 77
Hartley Dean

12 Feminist Perspectives 83
Shona Hunter

13 Green Perspectives 90
Michael Cahill

14 Postmodernist Perspectives 96
Tony Fitzpatrick

Part III Historical Context 103

15 History and Social Policy 105
David Gladstone

16 Nineteenth-Century Beginnings 111
Bernard Harris

17 The Liberal Era and the Growth of State Welfare 117
Noel Whiteside

18 The Post-war Welfare State 124
Robert M. Page

19 Crisis, Retrenchment, and the Impact of Neo-liberalism (1976–1997) 130
Howard Glennerster

20 Modernization and the Third Way 135
Martin Powell

Part IV Contemporary Context 143

21 Demography 145
Jane Falkingham and Athina Vlachantoni

22 Economic Policy and Social Policy 153
Rob Sykes

23 Religion 160
Rana Jawad

24 Family Policy 166
Jane Millar and Tina Haux

25 Divisions and Difference 173
Sharon Wright

26 Poverty and Social Exclusion 180
Pete Alcock

27 The Distribution of Welfare 187
John Hills

28 The Policy Process 195
Hugh Bochel

29 Evaluation and Evidence-based Social Policy 201
Martin Powell

Part V Welfare Production and Provision 207

30 State Welfare 209
Catherine Bochel

31 Commercial Welfare 215
Chris Holden

32 Occupational Welfare 221
Edward Brunsdon and Margaret May

33 Voluntary Welfare 228
Jeremy Kendall

34 Informal Welfare 234
Hilary Arksey and Caroline Glendinning

35 Paying for Welfare 241
Howard Glennerster

36 Taxation and Welfare 248
Fran Bennett

37 Citizenship and Access to Welfare 255
Ruth Lister and Peter Dwyer

Part VI Welfare Governance 263

38 Managing and Delivering Welfare 265
John Clarke

39 Accountability for Welfare 271
Jackie Gulland

40 Welfare Users and Social Policy 278
Marian Barnes

41 Local and Regional Government and Governance 284
Guy Daly and Howard Davis

42 Social Policy and Devolution 291
Richard Parry

43 Social Policy and the European Union 298
Linda Hantrais

44 International Organizations 306
Nicola Yeates

Part VII Welfare Services 315

45 Income Maintenance and Social Security 317
Stephen McKay and Karen Rowlingson

46 Employment 324
Alan Deacon and Ruth Patrick

47 Health Care 331
Rob Baggott

48 Education in Schools 338
Anne West

49 Lifelong Learning and Training 345
Claire Callender

50 Housing 352
David Mullins and Alan Murie

51 Social Care 359
Jon Glasby

52 Criminal Justice 366
Tim Newburn

Part VIII Services for Particular Groups 375

53 'Race'and Social Welfare 377
Lucinda Platt

54 Children 385
Tess Ridge

55 Young People 392
Bob Coles

56 Older People 399
Kirk Mann and Gabrielle Mastin

57 Disability 405
Mark Priestley

58 Migrants and Asylum Seekers 412
Alice Bloch

Part IX International Issues 419

59 Comparative Analysis 421
Margaret May

60 Social Policy in Europe 428
Jochen Clasen

61 Social Policy in Liberal Market Societies 434
Michael Hill

62 Social Policy in East Asian Societies 440
Michael Hill

63 Social Policy in Middle Eastern Societies 447
Rana Jawad

64 Social Policy in Developing Societies 455
Patricia Kennett

Appendix: The Social Policy Association (SPA) 462

Index 464


"Look no further for the essential social policy primer. Accessible and bang up-to-date analysis and commentary by leading experts in their fields. Invaluable."
David Brindle, Public Services Editor, The Guardian