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A Global History of Social Policy


Red Globe Press

Pages: 317


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Paperback - 9781352003062

21 September 2018


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Hardcover - 9781352003093

21 September 2018


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Ebook - 9781352003079

21 September 2018


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Compassion traces the ways in which various societies across the globe have responded to the vulnerable among them from early human history to the present. Along the way, Alvin Finkel assesses the impacts of economic...

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Compassion traces the ways in which various societies across the globe have responded to the vulnerable among them from early human history to the present. Along the way, Alvin Finkel assesses the impacts of economic developments, colonialism, political arrangements, gender, race, and social class in influencing how different peoples have defined the rights of individuals and communities facing hardship. 

From Russia to Iran, from Scandinavia to Vietnam, this book looks at how social policy has been shaped by global social forces such as capitalism, imperialism and neoliberalism and analyses why different countries and regions diverged in their ways of dealing with inequalities and social needs. 

This is a valuable resource for students on History, Sociology or Social Work degrees taking modules or courses on the History of Welfare/Social Policy or Global History.

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  • The first book to offer a global history of social policy
  • Comprehensive approach
  • Unique in looking at European, Scandinavian, Antipodean, Asian, African and North and Central/South American perspectives rather than just focusing on the Western world

1. Introduction: Why Study Social Policy as a Global Phenomenon?.- PART I: SOCIAL POLICY FROM THE DAWN OF HUMANITY TO BISMARCK
2. Sharing versus Domination: Social Policy from 200,000 BCE to the Middle Ages
3. Charity and Poor Laws versus the Moral Economy, 1000-1850
4. Empire and Social Policy
5. Social Insurance and Social Policy in Europe, 1850-1914
6. Social Policy before 1914 in Former European Colonies
7. Social Policy in the Inter-War Years
8. World War Two and the Cold War, 1939-1980: The Capitalist World.-  9. The Communist World, 1945-1991
10. The Post-Colonial World, 1945-1990
11. Neoliberalism and Advanced Capitalism
12. Post-Communism
13. Neoliberalism and Underdeveloped Countries
Conclusion: Compassion through the Ages.

A book that manages to be simultaneously deep and global, ranging from our hunter-gatherer ancestors to the neo-liberal slash-backs of the 1980s. Who knew it was possible to write an epic panorama of the welfare state? – Peter Baldwin, UCLA and NYU, USA
Alvin Finkel’s Compassion provides an ambitious historic review of global welfare provision, exploring the underlying nature of how obligations to others are formed and reformed over time. For students of social policy it is a timely reminder of the importance of compassion and some of the contemporary challenges faced when mobilising this characteristic into future welfare endeavours. – Lee Gregory, University of Birmingham, UK
Most books concerning social policy and welfare focus on developments in the Global North and place such within recent local or colonial histories. Finkel provides a refreshing alternative drawing on prehistories and early societies from around the world alongside recognizing traditional accounts. This book is significant and likely to become a classic. – Jonathan Parker, Bournemouth University, UK.
An impressive book filled with rich detail and grounded in solid research. It is comprehensive and extremely well-organized and well-written. Compassion is also an essential resource for those who study history, sociology, political science, social administration, social policy and social work. Moreover, this work will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand more about how and why human beings treat each other the way they do, why we have poverty, why we have wars. – Therese Jennissen, Carleton University, Canada in Canadian Dimension (2019)
This is much more, in other words, than a history of social policy and welfare states. It’s a history of inclusion and exclusion, the unevenness of democratic participation, the often-violent contours of citizenship, and of how we “humanize and dehumanize others” and why. Finkel reminds us that social policy has been and continues to be a vehicle for alleviating poverty, improving lives, and creating justice – but that condescension and domination are just as frequently mobilized in the name of “compassion.” These are valuable lessons, and this book is a necessary read, for anyone interested in using social policy to build a better world. – Lisa Pasolli, Queen’s University, Canada, in Labour/Le Travail (Spring 2020)
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Dr Alvin Finkel is Professor Emeritus of History at Athabasca University, Canada.

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Dr Alvin Finkel is Professor Emeritus of History at Athabasca University, Canada.

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