Social Policy: Welfare, Power and Diversity
This outstanding new series of five introductory set texts is designed for The Open University course 'Social Policy: Welfare, Power and Diversity' (no. D218). They provide a complete and stimulating introduction to the study of social policy, for those studying on this and similar courses. Each title in the series engages with issues that are central to the fortunes of the welfare state in the late 1990s and together they will make a major contribution to the reframing of the contours of social policy into the next century.
The series gives particular emphasis to the processes of social differentiation and their implications for social welfare. It also emphasizes the ways in which social problems and solutions to them have been socially contructed and are subject to historical change. More generally, the books use scientific theories and research studies together with, and in contrast to, other forms of 'knowing' about social welfare and social issues (such as common sense). This is done in order to raise key questions about how society 'works', how social change occurs, and how social order is maintained.
Each book is designed and constructed as an interactive teaching text. The chapters form a planned sequence, so that each chapter builds on its predecessors and each concludes with a set of suggestions for further reading in relation to its core topics. The books are also organized around a series of learning processes:
* Activities: highlighed in colour, these are exercises which invite you to take an active part in working on the text and are intended to test your understanding and develop reflective analysis.
* Comments: these provide feedback from the chapter's author(s) on the activities and enable you to compare your responses with the thoughts of the author(s).
* Shorter questions: again highlighted in colour, these are designed to encourage you to pause and reflect on what you have just read.
* Key Words: these are concepts or terms that play a central role in each chapter and in the course's approach to studying social policy; they are highlighted in colour in the text and in the margins.
While each book in the series is self-contained, there are also references backwards and forwards to the other books. These appear in bold type. This approach enables readers to grasp and reflect on the central themes, issues and arguments not only of each chapter, but also of each book and the series as a whole.