A couple of days ago I was asked, at short notice, to write a brief introduction to Social Policy, suitable for young people interested in finding out more about the discipline. Even though I only had a few minutes to write it somewhat inevitably I wrote more than could be used for that purpose. So I was given a firm edit. Here is the fuller version, in case it is of interest.
How does a society meet the needs of its members and promote their well-being? What sorts of things are seen as problems for individuals to cope with on their own? And which are problems that society more broadly has a reason, or an obligation, to address? Should we rely mainly on our families for help? Or should we expect governments to act for us? What about services provided by organisations in the private market? And what is the role for charity?
How do the answers to these questions differ between different countries or regions or cities? How do the answers differ in the same society at different points in time?
These are questions examined by the discipline of Social Policy. [Read more…]