American Social Welfare Policy: A Pluralist Approach, Edition 7

Pearson Higher Ed

Current social welfare policy in the United States.

Taking a policy analysis framework, American Social Welfare Policy: A Pluralist Approach, 7/e is the most comprehensive and up-to-date textbook on the American welfare policy. The text provides a critical in-depth look at the major programs that make up the U.S. welfare state, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and TANF.

Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers will be able to:

  • Understand the social, political, and economic forces that shape social welfare policy.
  • Analyze the major programs that make up the U.S. welfare state.
  • Discuss basic social welfare concepts.

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About the author

Howard Karger is Professor and Head of School, The University of Queensland. Howard was formerly Professor at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston, and for seven years headed their doctoral program. He has been on the faculties of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Louisiana State University, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Prof. Karger is an internationally recognized scholar in social welfare policy, and has authored or co-authored 10 books and more than 80 articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in major social work and social policy journals in the U.S. and abroad. Howard sits on the editorial boards of six journals.

Among his other books are Shortchanged: Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), which won the 2006 Independent Publishers Award in Economics/Finance/ Investment.

Prof. Karger is a two-time Senior Fulbright Scholar, having done postings at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1989) and the University of Zimbabwe (1994).

David Stoesz is Professor of Social Work at Mississippi Valley State University.

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Additional Information

Pearson Higher Ed
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Published on
Jan 24, 2013
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Best For
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Political Science / Public Policy / Social Services & Welfare
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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American social policy, writes David Stoesz, is currently experiencing an alarming paradigm shift. Quixote's Ghost, a provocative new analysis of the ideological fight for control of American social welfare policy, demonstrates how the Right pirated the pragmatism championed by the Left since the New Deal and what that means for the future of social policy. Stoesz's fascinating account documents how conservative think tanks arose to combat the dominance of liberal intellectualism in the university system, and by now have taken command of the "means of analysis," flooding Congress with proposals and effectively shifting American public philosophy from liberalism to conservatism. While the Right devoted enormous amounts of energy in reconstructing social policy, Stoesz argues that the American liberal-intellectual class-the Liberati-abandoned its original mission, defecting from the welfare state project to pursue a philosophical tangent, postmodernism, that vilified social policy and romanticized oppressed populations. Presenting case studies from welfare reform and children's services, he illustrates how both the Right and the Left have shortchanged American social policy. In the process, he proposes radical pragmatism as the solution to counter the dominance of an emerging welfare-industrial complex and revive a Progressive orientation to social policy. Only through citizen empowerment, social mobility, and government restructuring, Stoesz argues, can we effectively craft a new approach to social policy that meets the requirements of the 21st century and transcends the impasse between the Left and the Right. Quixote's Ghost, framed by the metaphor of a Romantic Left whose actions-like Don Quixote's obsession with chivalry-are out of synch with the present reality, will be of immense interest to students and academics alike. As one of the few books to chart this radical shift in social policy and its implications on the ground, it will be sure to challenge both the Right and the Left to craft a new approach to thinking about American social policy.
The Dynamic Welfare State makes a case for a radical shift in how we view the roles of both public and private institutions in the United States. It documents the emergence of a third stage in the American welfare state, evident in corporations exploiting markets in healthcare, education, and financial services. Architects of the welfare state envisaged government as the provider of essential services to citizens; however, as the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and the Affordable Care Act of 2010 show, corporations and the wealthy have become adept at using trade associations, hiring lobbyists, influencing elections, and contributing to think tanks in order to craft public policy that is congruent with industry preferences. Moreover, the influence of "dark money" through political action committees classified by the IRS as "social welfare organizations" in order to obscure the identity of donors is pernicious to democracy. In addition to accounting for the marketization of public policy, The Dynamic Welfare State describes the failure of health and human services professionals to advance the welfare of the public, graphically illustrated by the poverty trap, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, and the "school-to-prison pipeline." The status quo is unsustainable, and a reconfigured welfare state is essential if government social programs are to honor their public commitments for the 21st century. In this bold and timely text, David Stoesz illustrates how and why empowerment, mobility, and innovation are themes for a dynamic welfare state that is congruent with the modern day.
From its inception in the late nineteenth century, social work has struggled to carry out the complex, sometimes contradictory, functions associated with reducing suffering, enhancing social order, and social reform. Since then, social programs like the implementation of welfare and the expansion of the service economy—which should have augured well for American social work—instead led to a continued loss of credibility with the public and within the academy. A Dream Deferred chronicles this decline of social work, attributing it to the poor quality of professional education during the past half-century. The incongruity between social work’s promise and its performance warrants a critical review of professional education. For the past half-century, the fortunes of social work have been controlled by the Council of Social Work Education, which oversees accreditation of the nation’s schools of social work. Stoesz, Karger, and Carrilio argue that the lack of scholarship of the Board of Directors compromises this accreditation policy. Similarly, the quality of professional literature suffers from the weak scholarship of editors and referees. The caliber of deans and directors of social work educational programs is low and graduate students are ill-prepared to commence studies in social work. Further complicating this debate, the substitution of ideology for academic rigor makes social work vulnerable to its critics. The authors state that, since CSWE is unlikely to reform social work education, schools of social work should be free to obtain accreditation independently, and they propose criteria for independent accreditation. A Dream Deferred builds on the past, presents a bracing critique of the present, and proposes recommendations for a better future that cannot be ignored or dismissed.
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