The welfare state arouses controversy whether attention is focused on its recent past or future development. This volume draws together the latest historical research to address two key sets of questions. First, what is a welfare state and how can it best be analysed? Has analysis traditionally been too narrow? Should it be broadened to include, for instance, industrial relations, race and the philosophical debate over the definition of equality? Second, should not current policy be informed by a greater sense of history? The British welfare state was created because of the inability of the market in the 1930s to eradicate mass unemployment and poverty. Since the 1980s market forces have been reintroduced into centralised welfare provision because of the perceived failure of the state. Does policy have to turn full circle? Cannot constructive lessons be learnt from the past? The essays focus on the underprivileged. They include broad surveys on, for example, the development of the personalsocial services and the redistribution of resources since 1945. There are also detailed case-studies of the 'rediscovery' of poverty in the 1960s and the construction of an 'underclass'.
Each is written by a leading expert in the field.