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Introduction: The Road from 1945

  • Rodney Lowe
Part of the Contemporary History in Context book series (CHIC)

Abstract

The essays in this volume originated as papers in the 1995 conference of the Institute of Contemporary British History on British History, 1945–1995: the state of the art. The dual purpose of the conference was both to take stock of the existing literature and to identify ways in which the writing of contemporary history could be made more rigorous and challenging. Welfare policy attracted a disproportionate number of papers at the conference, actively reflecting the variety and vitality of research in this area. At an international level, for instance, the work of Peter Flora and the current initiatives of both the Swedish Institute for Social Research and the French Ministère des Affaires Sociales, de la Santé et de la Ville, have provided a focus for comparative work.1 At an interdisciplinary level, experts in social policy, sociology, political science and economics have examined in depth the fundamental causes, mechanics and rationality of policy change. The richness of the resulting research is reflected in the succeeding essays. Methodologically, they vary from broad surveys to detailed case studies. Analytically, they range from past policies to current concerns and extend the conventional boundaries of welfare to cover issues such as industrial relations and race.

Keywords

Welfare State Full Employment Welfare Policy Labour Market Policy Labour Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    P. Baldwin, ‘The Welfare State for Historians’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 34 (1992), 695–707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beveridge in the Longue Durée’ in J. Hills et al., Beveridge and Social Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 40.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    P. Baldwin, The Politics of Social Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    R. Lowe, The Welfare State in Britain since 1945 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998) identifies the broad range of concepts required for analysis and concentrates on ‘classic welfare state’ up to 1975Google Scholar
  5. M. Hill, The Welfare State in Britain (Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1993) offers a government-by-government approach; N. Timmins, The Five Giants (London: HarperCollins, 1995) is an example of ‘high journalism’ which is particularly enlightening on the NHS and the Thatcher yearsGoogle Scholar
  6. D. Gladstone, British Social Welfare (London: UCL Press, 1995) is a collection of interdisciplinary essays covering the whole period; finally H. Glennerster, British Social Policy since 1945 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995)Google Scholar
  7. M. Sullivan, The Development of the Welfare State (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1996) also cover the whole postwar period and use an historical perspective to raise important questions about future policy.Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    In B. Abel-Smith and K. Titmuss, The Philosophy of Welfare (London: Allen & Unwin, 1987), p. 141.Google Scholar
  9. 6.
    R. Lowe, ‘The Second World War, Consensus and the Foundation of the Welfare State’, Twentieth Century British History, 1 (1990), p. 154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. J. Harris, William Beveridge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 448.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    R. Titmuss, Essays on ‘the Welfare State’ (London: Allen & Unwin, 1958), ch. 2. The incidence of subsidies, such as food subsidies, is as important as that of taxes.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    N. Whiteside, ‘Creating the Welfare State in Britain, 1945–1960’, Journal of Social Policy, 25 (1996), 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    See, in particular, J. Harris ’ Political Ideas and the Debate on State Welfare’ in H. L. Smith, War and Social Change (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1986) and Baldwin, ‘Beveridge’, pp. 53–4.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    P. Taylor-Gooby, Public Opinion, Ideology and State Welfare (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), ch. 2. The slowing down in the rate of economic growth would, in itself, have posed problems for the expansion of welfare expenditure; but the under-employment of the country’s productive capacity accentuated the problem.Google Scholar
  15. 20.
    R. Lowe, ‘The Replanning of the Welfare State, 1957–64’ in M. Francis and I. Zweiniger—Bargielowska, The Conservatives and British Society, 1880–1900 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996), p. 255–73. For a guide to official records in this period, see P. Bridgen and R. Lowe, Welfare Policy under the Conservatives, 1951–64 (London: PRO Publications, 1998).Google Scholar
  16. 21.
    See I. Gough, The Political Economy of the Welfare State (London: Macmillan, 1979).Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    E. Wilson, Women and the Welfare State, (London: Tavistock, 1977).Google Scholar
  18. See also J. Lewis, Women in Britain since 1945 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992) with its particularly full bibliography.Google Scholar
  19. 24.
    G. Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Cambridge: Polity, 1990)Google Scholar
  20. F. Castles and D. Mitchell, ‘Identifying Welfare State Regimes’, Governance 5 (1992), 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 26.
    P. Johnson, ‘The Welfare State’ in R. Floud and D. McCloskey, The Economic History of Britain since 1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), vol. 3, p. 284–317.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rodney Lowe 1999

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  • Rodney Lowe

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