Cross-national Trends in Welfare State Development

  • Lois Bryson
Part of the Sociology for a Changing World book series


Chapter 2 was concerned with various ways of conceptualising the welfare state and with assessing the potential of the various frameworks for shedding light on the question ‘Who benefits?’ That focus is continued in this chapter through a consideration of the historical development of the welfare state. The emphasis will again be on those elements that have particular significance for current discourses. Essentially the discussion will be concerned with how, at various stages of history, social welfare provisions have measured up in terms of the broad interests already discussed, particularly in relation to class, sex and race. We will, in effect, be considering the movement towards an institutional welfare state and considering the development of concern for relative rather than absolute poverty. Issues of whether horizontal or vertical equity is promoted are central, as is the issue of the universality of provisions. However, these questions will not necessarily be addressed in an explicit and formal manner, as that would be tedious. They should rather be seen as providing an implicit framework for the discussion.


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© Lois Bryson 1992

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  • Lois Bryson

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