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New Approaches to Welfare Theory draws on recent work from the sociology of social action, feminist literature and critical social theory, to counter the current impasse in social policy. Interdisciplinary in scope and including work by economists, psychologists, philosophers and social workers, it offer insights into the meaning and dynamics of claimsmaking in modern society.

The introduction examines the claims which groups - especially groups of marginalised people - make against institutions, the problems they have in articulating their aspirations and needs, and the structured institutional responses to their claims. This is followed by a series of papers on the problem of establishing the moral justifiability of claims, including contributions from both the contractarian and utilitarian approaches. Later sections concentrate on the constraining and enabling effects of social structures on claimsmaking - including the various excluding and filtering institutional responses - and the interactions both of claimsmakers with political institutions and of social groups with institutional patterns. The volume concludes with an afterword by the editors discussing the relationship between the universalist and particularist approaches, the two perspectives on the moral dimensions of welfare which feature most prominently in the book.

The essays and papers in this book draw upon a broad background of research, teaching and practical experience by a distinguished group of scholars. New Approaches to Welfare Theory will be welcomed by students and researchers, as well as by social workers and policymakers, as an enlightening and instructive discussion of the problems and implications of an approach to welfare from the perspective of social action.

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