© 2018

Creating Target Publics for Welfare Policies

A Comparative and Multi-level Approach

  • Lorenzo Barrault-Stella
  • Pierre-Edouard Weill


  • Offers a constructivist approach to the process of creating target publics for welfare policies

  • Examines the transformation of the welfare state in different national contexts

  • Provides a multilevel analysis of policy making: from the public debates to the welfare recipients


Part of the Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning book series (LARI, volume 17)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Legitimizing Categories in Public Debates

  3. Sketching the Outlines of Target Groups

  4. The Daily Bureaucratic Adjustment of Targeting

About this book


This volume analyzes welfare policies by looking at the making of their target publics. It examines how these populations are identified and constructed by policy making. The contributors apply the classic theoretical question about who gets what, when, and how, but also suggest the revisiting of policy-feedback analysis. 
Coverage includes empirical case studies in different geographical areas. It looks at Europe, the United States and also considers Mayotte, set in a post-colonial context. The chapters also examine different aspects of welfare, including the bureaucratic treatment of marginalized populations as well as the middle class.
The authors draw on diverse conceptual approaches and investigative methodologies. They conduct participant observation in public or nonprofit organizations, explore administrative records, and interview actors at various stages of policymaking. This qualitative material is then combined with relevant quantitative data.
Readers are guided through a multilevel approach of welfare policies, from their definition to their implementation. They gain insight into the targeting of publics, from the higher reaches of government to the most underprivileged groups of the social world. 
Overall, the book compares different national contexts and social policy fields. This approach unearths regularities, enabling the authors to reassess major contemporary transformations of the welfare State.


International Comparison public policy Interdisciplinary Perspectives Multi-level Approach Policy Making Public Discourses Qualitative Methodologies Street-level Bureaucrats Target Publics Welfare Policies Welfare Recipients

Editors and affiliations

  • Lorenzo Barrault-Stella
    • 1
  • Pierre-Edouard Weill
    • 2
  1. 1.CRESPPA-CSU (UMR 7217)Centre National de Recherche ScientifiqueParisFrance
  2. 2.Lab-LEX (EA 7480)Université de Bretagne OccidentaleBrestFrance

About the editors

Lorenzo Barrault-Stella is a research fellow in political sociology at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). He is member of the Center of Sociological and Political Research of Paris (CRESPPA). He is a specialist of educational policies. More broadly, he explores the contemporary transformations of the State and the relations between government and governed people. He has published numerous articles in international peer reviewed journals and several book chapters. His first personal book Gouverner par accomodements. Stratégies autour de la carte scolaire (Dalloz) was published in 2013. He is actually member of the editorial board of the international peer review Gouvernement et action publique (Presses de Sciences Po).
Pierre-Edouard Weill is an assistant professor in sociology from the University of Western Britanny and belongs to the LabLEX research unit. He is specialized on social policies and cultural practices. He has published numerous articles in international peer reviewed journals and several book chapters. Among his most recent publication is Sans toit ni loi? Genèse et conditions de mise en œuvre du Droit au logement opposable, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2017.

Bibliographic information