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14. Social Welfare Systems

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides an overview of scholarship into comparative social welfare. It begins by examining the way the term "welfare" has been defined, showing that narrow definitions focusing on government social services have been transcended by a more encompassing approach that includes many more welfare institutions and practices. The chapter traces developments in the study of welfare systems over the years, and discusses the major theoretical perspectives that have been used to comprehend what is a diverse and complex field. Theoretical work in comparative social welfare has been quite extensive: different typologies of welfare systems have been published and explanatory accounts that shed light on complex causal relationships have been formulated. In addition, scholars have offered normative assessments of which welfare systems are most likely to promote social well-being. The chapter concludes by discussing challenges and neglected areas of research.

Keywords: government social services; social welfare systems; statutory welfare; welfare institutions

10.1163/9789004266179_023
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