Transforming the Welfare State

BWB Texts

Book 80
Bridget Williams Books
Free sample

‘Eighty years ago, New Zealand’s welfare state was envied by many social reformers around the world. Today it stands in need of urgent repair and renewal.’


One of our leading public policy thinkers asks: What might the contours of a revitalised ‘social contract’ for New Zealand look like?


Packed full of analysis, Jonathan Boston’s latest BWB Text directs us towards nothing less than a new political settlement. Wide-ranging reform of the welfare state is needed, Boston argues, if we are to address the challenges presented by economic, social and technological upheaval.


This quest is made all the more demanding – and pressing – by alarming ecological crises and the need for ‘the good society’ to place intergenerational responsibilities at its heart.

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About the author

Jonathan Boston is a Professor of Public Policy in the School of Government at the Victoria University of Wellington. He has written extensively on public management, the welfare state, child poverty, climate change policy, tertiary education funding, and comparative government.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Bridget Williams Books
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Published on
Feb 4, 2020
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781988545707
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Services & Welfare
Political Science / World / Australian & Oceanian
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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A comprehensive, relevant, and accessible look at all aspects of Indigenous Australian history and culture

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Although gossip is disapproved of across the world s societies, it is a prominent feature of sociality, whose role in the construction of society and culture cannot be overestimated. In particular, gossip is central to the enactment of politics: through it people transform difference into inequality and enact or challenge power structures. Based on the author s intimate ethnographic knowledge of Nukulaelae Atoll, Tuvalu, this work uses an analysis of gossip as political action to develop a holistic understanding of a number of disparate themes, including conflict, power, agency, morality, emotion, locality, belief, and gender. It brings together two methodological traditions the microscopic analysis of unelicited interaction and the macroscopic interpretation of social practice that are rarely wedded successfully.

Drawing on a broad range of theoretical resources, Niko Besnier approaches gossip from several angles. A detailed analysis of how Nukulaelae s people structure their gossip interactions demonstrates that this structure reflects and contributes to the atoll s political ideology, which wavers between a staunch egalitarianism and a need for hierarchy. His discussion then turns to narratives of specific events in which gossip played an important role in either enacting egalitarianism or reinforcing inequality. Embedding gossip in a broad range of communicative practices enables Besnier to develop a nuanced analysis of how gossip operates, demonstrating how it allows some to gain power while others suffer because of it. Throughout, he is particularly attentive to the ways in which anthropologists themselves are the subject and object of gossip, making his work a notable contribution to reflexive social science.

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