"Pierson and Castles have compiled a gem of a reader. It presents a true panorama of the epochal writings on Western welfare states, ranging from Thomas Paine to postmodernism. Between these two covers, the reader will find the most influential theoretical and analytical contributions on the causes and consequences of welfare state evolution, diversity and convergence. The collection succeeds brilliantly in bringing out the core controversies and debates. Any student or scholar of social policy will find this book invaluable in their studies."
Gosta Esping-Andersen, University of Trento
The future of the welfare state is, for many people, the key social, economic and political issue for the new millennium. Drawing on the very best and most influential writing on welfare of the past fifty years, and featuring the work of more than thirty key authors, The Welfare State Reader shows how, why and for whom the politics of welfare has attained this newly central status.
The book brings together in a single volume texts from a wide range of sources - some of which are now either out of print or difficult to obtain. It includes work from the earliest years of postwar welfare state growth right through to the very latest debates about ageing, competitiveness and globalization. It encompasses both the most important theoretical approaches to welfare and the very latest comparative empirical research. The final section marks out the terrain on which the next battles over welfare will be fought.
Throughout the book, the emphasis is upon welfare debates. The extraordinary range of contrasting opinions and judgements in this volume demonstrate why welfare is such a crucial and contested topic. Selected and edited by two internationally respected researchers and teachers in the field, The Welfare State Reader is the essential guide to the debate.