Table of Contents
(Just click on the title you like to read!)

1. DEVELOPMENTS IN SWEDISH SOCIAL POLICY: Resisting Dionysus, by Arthur Gould
2. HEDER OCH SAMVETE (Honour and Conscience), by Maria Pia-Boethius
6. DISCOVERING THE WELFARE STATE IN EAST ASIA, edited by Christian Aspalter (with contributons of Ito Peng, Huck-ju Kwon, Yeun-wen Ku, and Raymond K.H. Chan)
9. ADDICTION TREATMENT: A STRENGTHS PERSPECTIVE, by Katherine van Wormer and Diane Rae Davis


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By Arthur Gould, Palgrave, London (2001). ISBN 0-333-77450-7

This book is an attempt to do two things—examine the development of Swedish social policy in the last decade and bring together and resolve two seemingly contradictory aspects of my previous work on Sweden. I am referring to my admiration for Sweden's generous and egalitarian welfare state and my dissatisfaction with its illiberal approach to alcohol and drugs. Until the 1990s, Swedish politics had been dominated by Social Democratic governments pursuing expansionist social policies and full employment. The economic problems the years around 1990 resulted in mass unemployment and demanded cutbacks in public and social expenditure.

In 1991, a four-party Centre-right coalition—without and absolute majority in the Swedish parliament—attempted to bring about a neo-liberal system shift in Swedish politics. This was succeeded in 1994 by a Social Democratic government whose leadership saw the necessity of continuing with some of the previous government's policies. Through an examination of welfare services and benefits generally, the care of the elderly, gender equality, employment policy and the restrictive approach to alcohol and drug issues, I seek to ask whether Swedish Apollonian Modernity has given way to Dionysian Postmodernity.

I conclude that the Swedish welfare system remains relatively unchanged largely due to a combination of political, institutional and cultural factors. It is the latter which particular interested me since it is Sweden's Apollonian set of values which I argue has produced not only an orderly and rational society but also a strict approach to alcohol and drugs. Much of the literature on Sweden paints a picture of a fairly liberal and pragmatic society. While my book endorses this view to a considerable extent it also seeks to remind people of the more authoritarian and moralistic aspects of some social policies.

Arthur Gould (Loughborough University, UK)

HEDER OCH SAMVETE (Honour and Conscience)

By Maria Pia-Boethius, Ordfront, Stockholm (1999). ISBN 91-7324-854-1

The nature of a country's welfare system can only be grasped if one understands its social, political and economic context. It is for this reason that I recently read Maria-Pia Boethius' account of Sweden's involvement in the Second World War. This is a book that forces us to think about the context out of which the post war People's Home grew. The book was originally published in 1991 but has recently been revised and up-dated. Pia-Boethius is a journalist who expresses outrage about her country's pretended neutrality and it's collaboration with Nazi Germany. She is equally scathing about those historians who, over the years, have played down Sweden's betrayal of its principles.

The book documents the extent to which the Swedish government allowed German troops to travel through Sweden on their way to and from occupied Norway. It also shows how Swedish industry benefited from its disproportionate trade with Germany. It is not so much the trade itself which is so shocking but the way in which Sweden consistently lied to the allies about its scale. Agreements to limit the amount of trade were manipulated to Sweden's advantage. It is also surprising to discover the extent to which the government sanctioned a system of "informal" press censorship and harried Swedes who spoke out against the Nazis. Pia Boethius tends to argue that it was the Swedish government that was at fault, acting out of a fear of what military occupation would mean for the country. But it is equally clear that a large section of the Swedish population sympathised with its country's policies.

The relevance of this study to students of social policy is that it reminds us that the resources which funded the generous, egalitarian and humane welfare state after 1945 were in part due to the economic growth made possible by extensive trade with Nazi Germany—trade which not only helped to prolong the war but one which reinforced the racial and militaristic aims of the Third Reich. Swedes are famous for their pragmatism but this was taking pragmatism too far.

Arthur Gould (Loughborough University, UK)


By Christian Aspalter, Praeger, Westport, CT (2001). ISBN 0-275-97145-4

This book contains six country studies of the most developed welfare state systems in East Asia: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Mainland China. The author has applied a political approach in analyzing the causal determinants of welfare state development, such as e.g. historical factors, political systems, party systems, party politics, the politics of legitimization, the impact of constitutions, state structures, elections and social movements. One of the most interesting aspects of this study was to find out whether there is a common trend in the welfare politics in the East Asia or not. The author finds that despite of the ongoing globalization of the world economy, welfare states systems in the developed economies of East Asia do not pursue a strategy of welfare state retrenchment, but that of welfare state extension.

The second major aim of this book was to analyze welfare state systems and to reclassify them, i.e. to find a better solution for classifying East Asian welfare state systems, and welfare state systems in general. In so doing, the author departs from the regime theory of Esping-Andersen and finds his own way of classifying welfare state systems according to the governance of political parties. The author reached the conclusion that East Asian welfare state systems resemble, together with other welfare states, such as the United States and Chile, purely conservative welfare states.

The analysis revealed that it were especially conservative political parties who were pursuing the goals of conservative social politics. In case of Mainland China and Hong Kong, the two exceptions in this respect, it were communist and liberal democratic parties that pursued in essence conservative social politics enriched with pro-welfare state oriented ideologies.

Conservative social policies in the six case studies can be summarized as follows: Governments applied conservative social policies that were characterized by a clear dominance of occupationally divided social security schemes; a large reliance on the market in providing social security; a priority given to government officials, soldiers and teachers in welfare state provision; a dualism between large scale enterprises and the small and medium-scale enterprises (while the former enjoy coverage of social insurance schemes and occupational welfare; the latter have to rely on the market or less well funded insurance schemes), and a gradual extension of social insurance schemes to the entire population while avoiding major financial commitments of the state.

Christian Aspalter (The University of Hong Kong)


By Katherine van Wormer, Springer, New York (2001). ISBN 0-286-11395-8

I conceived this book as an attempt to apply the internationally recognized restorative justice model to women involved in the criminal justice system, whether as offenders or victims. In fact, most female offenders have themselves been victimized across their life spans. Consistent with my awareness that policy and practice are intertwined, I combined the framework of restorative justice with principles of social work's strengths perspective. Restorative justice processes generally follow standard criminal justice practices, often years later in carefully rehearsed and monitored victim-offender encounters. The contrast between the reality of the adversary system and the way victims are treated in standard courtroom proceedings and restorative justice approaches is striking.

A major challenge in presenting this material was how to relate restorative justice principles to the prosecution of cases of rape and wife/partner assault. The interest of the victim/survivor always has to be first and foremost. My interest in the treatment of women in prison is passionate. I document in the book many horror stories, most from the U.S. where male correctional officers work in close proximity with female inmates and sexual harassment and abuse has become commonplace. U.S., Canadian, and Swedish practices are contrasted. To provide new data for this book, I conducted a national survey of U.S. prison wardens. Despite much bureaucratic hassling and higher level resistance, the results are compelling. How far we come from meeting the special needs of women in our contemporary male-model prison designs is revealed in this survey.

My favorite chapter is the portrait of typical female offenders-mothers who have killed their babies due to postpartum psychosis, women who have been turned in by their male partners for drug related crime and who serve more time in prison than the drug dealers who turned them in, and wives who have killed their husbands. The paradoxical role of women's shelters in protecting male spouses and partners from murder is revealed. The narratives of such women, interspersed throughout Counseling Female Offenders and Victims are haunting. On the bright side, innovative, gender-specific programming from Europe, Canada and the U.S. are described. Unique to this book is the drawing of an interconnection between the backlash against the women's movement today and the harsh treatment of female offenders in the media and courtrooms and prisons of the U.S. and U.K. My personal mission is to help pave the way for innovative, gender-specific treatment of female offenders and victims and to show the relevance of restorative principles in this regard.

Katherine van Wormer (University of Northern Iowa, USA)


By Lee Ming-kwan, Routledge, Houndmills, UK (2000). ISBN 0-333-77372-1

This book managed to set up a detailed account of the historical development and the current transitions of the Chinese "Cradle-to-the-Grave" occupational welfare system, also known as the "iron-rice-bowl" system. Lee Ming-kwan took the case study of the Dongfang Heavy Machinery Works, one of the largest state-owned enterprises in Guangzhou (capital of Guangdong Province), to display the reasons, as well as the specific characteristics of China's "mini-welfare states", which were formed by the work unit (the "danwei"), and not on local, provincial, or State level.

Among other socioeconomic transformations, Lee Ming-kwan discusses, for example, the introduction of the "household responsibility system", the "contract responsibility system", marketized employment relations and system of wages, and increasing jobmobility. Major consequences of these changes are also found in the mindset of the government and the people—that is, the apparently fast growing distance to Marxist/Maoist values and doctrines, and the embracement of the market (which is widely regarded as being a miracle cure, rather than a phenonmon both capable of curing and causing social problems).

Lee Ming-kwan describes changes in the occupational structure (such as part-time employment); the manifold relationships between the work unit and the family with respect to overall welfare provision, including housing, education, health care and labor insurance; and recent transformations in these relationships. The reshaping of the "danwei" welfare economy is the outcome of numerous, highly interrelated societal and economic changes. Lee detects an irreversable trend of greater diversification and more pluralistic forms of welfare provision within the Chinese occupational welfare system.

With regard to the comprehensive labor insurance system, Lee concludes that risks and responsibilities between the State, the enterprise, and the individual have been redistributed; exclusive rights and benefits increasingly universalized; labor insurance has been more functionally differentiated, and the management of the schemes more professionalized. The very last section of the book emphasizes the development toward a Chinese model of welfare pluralism. The new model replaces the near-complete depdendence of welfare recipients with a limited dependence. The transformation into a mixed economy of welfare also brings along a partial abolition of the importance of status in welfare provision, leading the way to more citizenship and citizenship rights.

This volume is a sine qua non for welfare state experts and students specializing in Asia, but also to all others, since—in terms of people—China is the largest welfare state in the world.

Christian Aspalter (The University of Hong Kong)


Edited by Christian Aspalter, Praeger, Connecticut, USA (2002). ISBN 0-275-97413-8

There was time, in fact, until very recently, when most researchers of the welfare state believed that the welfare state was a particular Western invention, and that there is no welfare state outside the Western world. This book brought together some of the most distinguished researchers in Asia, who look at things from an Asian perspective. By integrating the theories and scientific know-how that they have learned in the West, this group of researchers gathered powerful evidence of surprisingly prosperous welfare state development; and one of them (Aspalter) furthermore advanced a new theoretical explanation of welfare state development in Asia, and the world as a whole.

The striking evidence concentrated in this volume covers the impact of the women's movement on welfare state restructuring in Japan, an examination of forces behind ongoing reforms of the Korean welfare state, a political history of welfare development in Hong Kong before and after 1997, a special study on the emergence and the role of welfare NGO's in Hong Kong, a sociopolitical study of welfare state development in Taiwan, and a full account of the factors contributing to the establishment of a unique Singaporean-type of welfare state system.

These essays center around the importance of political and social factors in welfare state construction and development in East Asia (and, concludingly, in the rest of the world). The need to restructure the Japanese welfare system is based on the decade-long marginalization of women in the male-dominated, corporate-centered organizational framework of Japan's sociopolitical system. The relative failure of the Japanese women's movement, so Ito Peng, is determined by its inability to form a viable oppositional political force. Huck-ju Kwon concludes that the state's responsibility for financing welfare programs has increased because political parties have competed to win more votes.

Both Raymond K.H. Chan and Christian Aspalter respectively show the interaction of history and sociopolitical forces that has led to the creation of a new type of (now, extended residual) welfare state in Hong Kong that is based on direct state welfare and private welfare provision by NGOs that are financed by the state.

Ku Yeun-wen also refers to the new relationship between the state and civil society in a democratic marketplace as the key determinant in welfare politics since the late 1980s. Finally, Aspalter also demonstrates the effects of political determinants in a non-democratic society, i.e. Singapore, which also due to special historical and political circumstances has developed a welfare state system of its own kind that is cartainly worthwhile studying.

The new theory put forward in this volume says that political factors—and not ideologies, and not cultural factors (as Confucianism), and not necessarily socialist or other left-wing labor unions—seek and promote the establishment of extensive welfare state systems of different kinds.

All five welfare state systems dealt with in this book are constructed by conservative political forces, all with a clear anti-welfare policy stand. Only the advance of political freedom and democracy generated a powerful force by which purely conservative governments are compelled to give in and introduce one costy welfare state program after the other. Thus, welfare states in Asia grow as naturally as they did in Europe or America, whenever political forces that can urge a growth of welfare state programs, especially party competition and social movements, were unleashed.

Christian Aspalter (The University of Hong Kong)


By Christian Aspalter, Ashgate, Aldershot, UK (2002). ISBN 0-7546-1603-7

Since social science cannot live on broader based comparative studies or macro studies alone, this book is a systemic attempt to trace the causes of welfare state development in a single case study, here Taiwan, by applying all necessary elements of scientific work; (1) the book integrated grand theory with detailed, hard empirical evidence, and (2) it keeps a focus on macro-, meso-, and micro-level processes and developments in the study of welfare state development.

When reading, studying the other books published by the author in the last two years, there might be the one or other reader who is still not completely convinced of the pivotal message coming trough in all these volumes—that is,“ politics does not matter, no, it plays even the most vital part in welfare politics. As Esping-Andersen once said " the welfare state is the child of politics," and this book delievers the striking in-depth evidence to that.

Working through all major aspects of welfare state development in Taiwan, the author after discussing all mainstream theory approaches in welfare state theory starts with a historical review of the impact of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China, and his Three Principles of People on welfare politics by way of the Constitution of the ROC and the widespread acceptance of these principles as the guiding principles of the Taiwanese nation after the retreat of the Kuomintang (KMT) to Taiwan. Therafter, Aspalter gives an up-to-date (i.e. as of January, 2002) account of the Taiwanese party system, its five major political parties, and their leaders.

The second part of the book deals with the historical development of welfare state programs before and after 1987, the year that marks the start of the rather smooth, and surprisingly bloodless transition from authoritarian rule to democracy in Taiwan. The author describes in detail the extension of a rudimentary client-based welfare state system to core supports of the KMT state (i.e. soldiers, government officials and teachers) to a, at first, more and, then, all-inclusive welfare state system. Even before the introduction of full democracy, the KMT set out to experiment with "universal" welfare state programs, which came to be the cornerstone of new welfare state politics in Taiwan. This new appeal to universalism was based on the need to catch votes of all parts of society in ever more competitive elections, which rank among the most expensive elections in the world in absolute terms.

The third part of this book, gives the micro-perspective of each candidates election promises in each county, city, and consituency (including the smalles of all consituencies that of aborigines) in the 1997 and 1998 elections. In 1997, President Lee Teng-hui set out to overtake the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in their welfare ambitions by promising a universal flate-rate pension allowance to all senior citizens regardless to their income and assets they posess. In the 1998 parliamentary elections, and the 1998 Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral elections this trend has been continued.

The theory of driving forces behind the welfare state, which are party competition and social movements, has been undoubtedly, and fully supported by the insights and results of this study.

In the 1998 parliamentary elections, it was not Tapei City, the capital city with a much higher share of elderly, a much higher degree of industrialization and migration, etc., but Tainan City, a rural, and still very agriculturally-dominated city in Southern Taiwan that proposed the highest number of "concrete" welfare proposals; Taipei ranked at the very end of the line.

The parallel results of the distribution of votes per candidates, which resemble perfectly the degree of party competition by applying the GINI coefficient of distribution, completely match the degree of party competition in each constituency; thus, leaving no doubt that only intense fight of a greater number of equally strong candidates over limitedly available number of seats in Tainan City is the direct cause for the greater number of concrete welfare proposals of candidates. The qualitative analyses that is based on all available major Chinese-language newspapers, support the conclusion of the quantative results.

The Taiwanese welfare state, as a result, not only has universal health insurance, but also universal allowance systems for every elderly, and other vulnerable groups of society. In combination with the traditional occupational features of the Taiwanese welfare state, the result resembles closely the welfare state arrange of the South European welfare state model, especially that of Italy.

Christian Aspalter (The University of Hong Kong)


By Robert W. Stern, Praeger, Westport, CT (2001), ISBN 0-275-97041-8.

In this book Robert W. Stern sets out to provide an account for the political impacts of dominant social classes in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The book defines classes in Max Weber's tradition; representing groups of people in the same class situation that provide a common base for communal action. It aims to make the case for the sociological explanation of political outcomes on the Indian subcontinent beginning from the time of British colonial rule. Throughout the book Stern continues to resolve the puzzle of different political development in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh following the independence from the British Empire.

The first section of the work commends on the politics of "balance and rule" of the British in Colonial India and how it fortified old and shaped new class-alliances. Stern refers to the policy of strengthening Britain's worldwide military capacity by overwhelmingly relying on military recruits from the Northwestern Province of Punjab as being the major reason for the rise of the Punjabi military tradition, which was and still is a key factor in Pakistani politics. Landlords served as recruiting agents for the British army and, thus, their importance grew accordingly, enabling them later on to successfully obstruct—in alliance with the military—the implementation of land reform and the introduction of democracy.

The second Muslim-dominated Province, Bengal, saw the development of a politically dominant class alliance with diametrically opposite class interests. Whereas after the partition from India, the Punjabi-dominated military elite together with landlords and industrialists feared losing their political power bases and their superior economic status and, thus, bitterly opposed the establishment of parliamentary democracy in the whole of Pakistan, a strong democratic tradition evolved in Bangladesh that was based on the dominant political coalition of professionals and landed peasants, which is dating back to the 1930s.

In the main body of the book, Stern deals with the democratic development in India, the continuing support for authoritarianism in Pakistan, and the troubled history of belated and volatile democratization in Bangladesh. Furthermore, Stern examines the formation and the escalation of religious conflict (via religious "communalism") and its inexorable political repercussions. He shows that the replacement of the Mughal Empire with British colonial rule prompted a rise of Muslim "communalism," which in return culminated in the intervention of the Hindu revivalist movement that found its expression in popular Hindu nationalism.

In Chapter 4, Stern carried out a vivid depiction of India's democratic experience since the time when Mahatma Gandhi took over the leadership of the Indian National Congress. This chapter also covers new important political developments of recent years-that is, the emergence of political parties in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, in the 1990s, that are backed by "backward" classes and the poorest of the poor, the Dalits (formerly known as the "untouchables"). This chapter also sheds light onto the important issues of land reforms and gender inequality.

The succeeding chapter seeks to determine the causes for non-development of democracy in Pakistan and the major ingredients to the development of a democratic tradition in Bangladesh. It discusses the development of bureaucratic authoritarianism in Pakistan resulting in the reassertion of the army's primacy in the coalition of dominant classes in Pakistan; and, in Bangladesh, the road to independence from Pakistan in 1971, the period of military interventions (1971-1991), and the return to democratic rule thereafter.

The book closes with a review of the book's content from the viewpoint of social effects of democracy. By putting forward a class-based explanation for different paths of political development in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Stern gives the reader a completely convincing theoretical explanation of the not easily accessible and very complex political history of the subcontinent. While the book delivers a fully detailed account of all major societal and political factors involved, it is perfectly suitable for first-time and advanced readers alike.

The explanatory capacity of the class-coalition thesis in the study of democracy is of outstanding significance, which should be reason enough for the "developed" world to reevaluate its stands towards democracy in the "developing" world, taking into account the more complex relationship between society and politics in other parts of the world. In short, the book is a major contribution to modern political and sociological thought and the salience of its findings are not to be underestimated.

Christian Aspalter (The University of Hong Kong).


Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective

By Katherine van Wormer and Diane Rae Davis, Wadsworth, (2002), ISBN 0-534-59670-3.

Rare for an American book, Addiction Treatment presents the strengths perspective as the unifying framework to bridge the gap between 12-step approaches and harm reduction in addictions treatment. This inclusive harm reduction perspective is applied to the treatment of alcoholism, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and other addictions. Meeting the client where the client is is the theme.

Reviewers have called this book "courageous" (see because of the context of traditionalism which is still strong in US treatment circles.

The approach used, motivational interviewing, however, is one that is internationally recognized for its strengths focus The lead author explains her theoretical growth as follows: "When I did alcoholism treatment in Washington State, our philosophy was that motivation didn't matter; just throw them into treatment under court orders and demand total abstinence from day one. They were forced to take the drug Antabuse to ensure compliance; if they did drink they would likely end up in the hospital from the severe side effects. After six months we allowed them to get off the Antabuse and draw on their own resources.

We had many successes but many clients dropped out and none came in voluntarily. "In recent years through an exchange with British educators, I was introduced to the harm reduction model, an approach that welcomes the client into treatment and works with him or her to enhance his or her inclination to take small steps toward change. I learned about the stages of change and how to tailor interventions to match the client's stage of change - - ambivalence or whatever.

Then I got excited enough to consult a co-author writer, recovering or recovered alcoholic who knows the 12 step program inside out but who also is fascinated by harm reduction. Together we(Diane Davis and I) wrote this book to cover addiction across the lifespan and its treatment."

Here is a chapter by chapter digest. Part I of this text, comprising chapters 1, 2, and 3, summarizes the current state of knowledge concerning the nature of addiction. A major task of the first chapter is definitional - to offer a conceptualization of addiction specific enough to be usable yet broad enough to encompass seemingly disparate behaviors such as compulsive overeating, compulsive gambling, excessive devotion to work, and out-of-control spending. Differentiating alcoholism from alcohol misuse is a related challenge. In these chapters, and throughout the book, attention is paid to the biological, psychological, and social aspects of addictive behavior.

The two chapters that comprise the biology section-Part II-- are concerned with the physiological and pharmaceutical aspects of drug misuse and dependency and with related interventions. Chapter 4 provides an overview of the addictive properties of various drugs, the metabolization process, and the effect of chronic use on the major organs of the body. Major emphasis is on the most complex organ in the body - the brain. Through a review of the latest research from neuroscience and with the help of vivid diagrams, the reader can see how addicting drugs work in the brain and on the brain.

Part II concludes with a chapter unique to this book, a presentation of biologically based interventions, the subject of chapter 5. The psychology of addiction, Part III, begins with Chapter 6, Addiction across the Life Span, which was placed in the psychological section because it draws on the developmental stages of life and relates the role of drugs to these life stages Chapter 7, Eating Disorders and Gambling, Shopping, and Other Addictions, is at the intersection of biology and psychology; biological aspects of the various disorders are discussed—for example, in the etiology of anorexia—while a cognitive focus is adapted from psychology as the intervention of choice. Mental disorders, the subject of chapter 8, also links biology with psychology. Attention to the major mental disorders was included in this book on addictions because of the frequent overlap between these dual disorders. The starting point in treatment, in terms of both social risks and resiliencies, is with the family.

Accordingly, chapter 9, the first chapter of Part IV, describes family dynamics and strategies for engaging the family in treatment. Chapters 10 and 11 focus on race/ethnicity and gender, respectively. Gender is used in the broad sense here to encompass gender nonconformity as well as conformity in sex role behavior. Because they do not conform to societies definitions of sexuality, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons are highly vulnerable to drug use and misuse. The task for practitioners who work with these and all other populations is to help people tap into their individual and collective resources. Throughout this part of the book, therefore attention is paid to family-centered (chapter 9), ethnic-sensitive (chapter 10), and gender-specific and gay-sensitive (chapter 11) interventions.

Chapter 12, on mutual-help support groups, applies the strengths perspective to an appreciation for the role that mutual-help support groups play in recovery. Consistent with the model that is the guiding theme of this book, the focus is on the appreciation, rather than the depreciation of strategies that work. Chapter 13, the policy chapter, which stands apart from the others in Part IV, is linked to them by the common thread of a concern with the social side (as opposed to the biological or psychological aspects) of addiction. Harm reduction is presented in its political and international context in this final chapter.

Katherine van Wormer (University of Northern Iowa, USA).

Social Work and Human Rights: A Foundation for Policy and Practice

By Elisabeth Reichert, Columbia University Press, (2003), ISBN 0-231-12308-6.

A new and dynamic book on human rights, Social Work and Human Rights: A Foundation for Policy and Practice, will be available in March 2003, by Columbia University Press. The author of the book, Dr. Elisabeth Reichert, is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

This book provides a thorough introduction to the world of human rights as it applies to social policies and issues in the United States and other countries. Within the United States, social workers have been reluctant to integrate human rights into their profession. Social Work and Human Rights provides a detailed guide to human rights principles and why those principles are tied so closely to social work, regardless of country. Because the tendency exists to generalize about human rights and what they actually mean, this book dissects aspects of human rights as they relate to the social work profession and presents each of those parts in an understandable form.

Chapters cover the development and history of human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, covenants and other treaties involving human rights, and human rights in an international context. The book addresses human rights in relation to cultural relativism, ethics, and vulnerable groups, including children, women, and those with HIV/AIDS. The final chapter addresses the application of human rights to social work policy and practice and provides case studies that apply human rights to the social work profession.

Social Work and Human Rights is essential reading for all students, educators and professionals interested in the area of human rights. For social workers, the book successfully presents the unifying and systematic conceptualization of human rights that is sorely needed. However, much of the discussion in the book covers topics that have great importance beyond the social work profession. Non social workers will find the book extremely useful in obtaining basic knowledge about the meaning of human rights.

As stated by Professor van Wormer (Dept. of Social Work at University of Northern Iowa) in the foreword of Social Work and Human Rights, "Where is the human rights compass to guide social workers? I have found it, and it is here."

Elisabeth Reichert (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, USA)


Vital Connections: Politics, Social Security and Inequality in Chile

By Silvia Borzutzky, University of Notre Dame Press, IN (2002), ISBN 0-268-04357-4.

This book is about the relationship between politics and policies of Chile, a country that deserves more attention than ever before since its social security reforms of the past two decades already serve and have served as a model case for a number of countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

In the words of Silvia Borzutzky, it are the vital and intimate connections between politics and social policy that really matter, in doing so she made a strong a particularly point, adding to theoretical and empirical evidence on the issue raised by scholars in the US (Theda Skocpol, Paul Pierson, and Evelyne Huber) and in Asia (Ahn Sang-hoon and Christian Aspalter) that stress the overall importance of political structures, political parties and elites, and societal groups in the making of social policy.

Borzutzky painstakingly dealt with all major political developments and policies since the modernization of Chile's political structures starting in 1924, in which the military took over the challenge of reforming the state from tip to toe. Rather than discussing the entire evolution of Chilean politics and social security system, Borzutzky handpicked the most crucial stages in contemporary history of politics, economy and social policy.

The story of vital connections told by Borzutzky begins with the Constitutional reform of 1925 and the subsequent years in which democracy and the more active role of the state set out to secure a more egalitarian society. Nevertheless, the constant drive ever since to improve the well-being of people's livelihood, took on different guises in three different historical-political phases. In the first phase, from 1924 to 1973, various populist, Christian Democratic and Socialist governments pursued a policy of expanding state functions with regard to social policy.

By the early 1970s, the Chilean social security system was in a deep crisis, with mounting inequalities in social provision due to the fragmentation of societal actors and the practice of political clientelism in social policy, as well as continuing insufficiency of pensions benefits and an insurmountable financial crisis of the social security system.

With the onset of the bloody rule of General Pinochet, Chile entered a stage of absolute authoritarianism and rather radical neo-liberalism. During these years, as descriped in Borzutzky's miraculous study, Chile implemented a U-turn in social security policy based on new economic policies that followed strictly the Chicago doctrines, leading, however, to mixed economic and social results. In the meanwhile, the gap between the rich and the poor widened further.

The last stage of Chilean history, its new path back to democracy, since 1989, is sketched by Borzutzky in her last chapter of the book, hinting on a new, but highly modest, return to social assistance as a means to increase government legitimacy.

Christian Aspalter (The University of Hong Kong).


Confronting Oppression, Restoring Justice:
From Policy Analysis to Social Action

By Katherine van Wormer, Council on Social Work Education, VA (2004), ISBN: 087-293-1064.

Restorative justice is the organizing theme for the second half of this book on confronting oppression and restoring justice. An empowerment approach links the two key divisions of the text. With so many oppressive forces operating in the world today's terrorism, violent regime change, abject poverty van Wormer's exploration into the roots of oppression and injustice is timely.

Confronting Oppression, Restoring Justice, has as its major task the addressing of the age-old question for social workers: How can we avoid participating in the oppression? Or, working from the outside, How can we help the casualties of economic restructuring or the victims of structural or interpersonal violence?

Using an internationally informed perspective, van Wormer tackles concepts such as internalization of oppression, injustice, restorative justice, social exclusion, empowerment, and critical consciousness. Chapter 1 discusses the essence of oppression and distinguishes social injustice from oppression while recognizing the close interconnectedness between them. From this an anti-oppressive framework, the author describes the skills of critical analysis needed to confront oppression and injustice in the society.

Chapter 2 which tackles the essence of oppression from a bio-psycho-social standpoint in many ways is the most unique chapter of the book, especially in terms of the discussion of the biology of oppression. Chapter 3 broadens our horizons with a global perspective on the phenomenon of social exclusion of designated out groups in the society. Racism, classism, heterosexism, and sexism are among the subjects discussed.

Consciousness-raising exercises highlight this and the following chapter The final chapter in Part I, entitled 'The Empowerment Tradition in Social Work' provides a historical approach to empowering policy and practice in social welfare and provides examples of human services programs that successfully deploy strategies of empowerment and confront forces of oppression and injustice.

Part II is devoted to social injustice of the legalistic aspect of mistreatment of people, the denial of their human rights. The nature of injustice is the subject of chapter 6. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights serves as a template for the discussion on human rights in this and the chapters to follow; the complete document is provided in the appendix

The next chapter shifts gears by introducing easy-to-follow guidelines for students and policy makers to research particular policies in need of change. This book ends with chapter 8, devoted to the principles of restorative justice. Under this rubric is discussion of reparations to persecuted populations, victim-offender reconciliation, and restoring justice to communities.

Unique to Confronting Oppression, Restoring Justice is the offering of a radical framework for anti-oppressive policy analysis and the infusion of personal narratives of consciousness raising experiences throughout the text?

Examples of exemplary programs and actions to confront oppression and injustice are provided. Also unique is the fact that a book on oppression and injustice could end on a positive note with an in-depth-description of restorative justice principles for the settlement of disputes and a peaceful means of righting wrongs against whole populations whose rights have been violated.

Written for frontline human services practitioners, students, and educators, Confronting Oppression, Restoring Justice arrives at an auspicious time when narrowing global distances breed both corporate political might and worldwide coalition building for social justice.

As renowned social justice expert, David G. Gil, writes in the foreword, "Professor van Wormer's book makes important contributions to a radical paradigm of social policy development and social work practice. It presents to the [social work] field an approach aimed at narrowing the gap between the social justice orientation of its Code of Ethics and the actual realities of the dominant policy and practice paradigm."

This work may be strongly recommended as a main or supplemental text for courses in the areas of policy, policy analysis, human behavior, and anti-racism.

Reviewed by Mary Boes (Dept. of Social Work, University of Northern Iowa).


Street-Level Bureaucracy:
Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services

By Michael Lipsky, Russell Sage Foundation, New York (1980), ISBN 0-87154-526-8.

With so many bold and innovative social policy and program reforms proposed and started with such a fanfare, why is it the case that so many of them turned out to be failures when tried to be implemented in the real world?

What does it make inherently so difficult to bring about intended changes in human service delivery system? Michael Lipsky provides his answers to this fundamental question in this book. In this seminal work, Lipsky regards social policy, that is the policy actually understood and experienced by the public, as a collection of the individual decisions of those workers who interact directly with citizens in every day life. These are police officers, teachers, and social workers. His analysis focuses on the policy and program environments these 'street-level' bureaucrats must operate in and how the characteristics of those environments in turn affect their work behaviors. According to Lipsky, the ultimate result of any policy reform should be measured by the changes at the direct interactions between clients and workers.

The part I of the book introduces the key concepts of the street-level bureaucracy. The author argues that the role of street-level bureaucrats is critical because their individual decisions become, or add up to, social policy. While performing this critical role, however, street-level bureaucrats experience serious role conflicts because their decisions tend to be redistributive as well as allocative by definition. In order to resolve these role conflicts, they tend to rely heavily on discretion as a coping mechanism in delivering public services. They are also given relative autonomy from the organizational authority because the characteristics of the jobs make it impossible to reduce discretion. The situations that street-level bureaucrats have to work on are usually too complicated that every detailed action cannot be prescribed beforehand. Thus autonomy and discretion are a defining characteristic of street-level bureaucrats, according to Lipsky.

The part II of the book further details the conditions of street-level bureaucrats' work. The basic condition of social service work is characterized as having inadequate resources. By definition, the demand for public services tends to increase to meet the supply. As a consequence, a typical street-level bureaucrat always has to cope with high caseloads. It is also pointed out that street-level bureaucrats most often have to deal with ambiguous, vague, or conflicting goals. For example, a primary goal of the income assistance policy might be raising the level of recipients economic status above the poverty line by providing cash assistance.

However, at the same time, another stated goal might be to reduce welfare dependency and increase self-sufficiency of the recipients. Here, it is the street-level bureaucrats who need to navigate their work, trying to achieve these two seemingly conflicting goals. The ambiguity also stems from uncertainty of social service technologies, where we simply do not fully know how to bring out changes in human behaviors through social policy.

In the part III of the book, Lipsky provides the overall patterns of practice that street-level bureaucrats develop as a coping mechanism, faced with the working conditions outlined in the previous section of the book. These patterns are characterized as attempts to function effectively and properly under the resource constraints they encounter. As a coping mechanism to the complex human problems they need to attend to, street-level bureaucrats tend to develop certain routines to make their tasks manageable. And, in Lipsky's analysis, these routinizations are to achieve certain functions in dealing with clients. These functions include rationing services, controlling clients and reducing the uncertainty of their work environments, husbanding worker resources, and managing the consequences of routine practice.

In the last section of the book, Lipsky provides his diagnosis of why the human service reforms are so difficult and how the real changes might be brought about. In his view, the determinants of street-level practice are firmly rooted in the structure of the work itself. And, that is the primary reason why street-level bureaucracies (and their workers' street-level bureaucrats) are unresponsive to any significant reform activities. Their tendency is to keep the stability, not disturbing one.

Then, what are the some of the possible mechanisms that might stimulate changes in human services? Lipsky argues that any significant changes in street-level bureaucracy are likely to be realized only in the context of social changes that redefine the relationship between the state and its citizens. Lipsky finds his answers in the following inter-related areas: encouraging client autonomy and influence over policy, selectively circumscribing discretion in the work of street-level bureaucrats, enhancing capacity of street-level bureaucrats, and finally helping street-level bureaucrats become more effective proponents of change.

The book is an excellent account of how policy reform efforts should be understood and approached from a bottom-up perspective, not from a top-down one. The real policy takes place where street-level bureaucrats interact with clients in every day life. Anyone who is interested in studying policy reform activities and their consequences should consult Lipsky's book for a critical examination of challenges and limitations of street-level bureaucracies.

Bong Joo Lee, Department of Social Welfare, Seoul National University
([email protected])


Edited by Christian Aspalter, Casa Verde, Hong Kong (2003), ISBN 986-80414-2-2.

This book represents both, first, a comprehensive update of welfare state develop-ments in mature economies, in East and West, and, second, a basis for a broadened scope of international comparative welfare state analysis. It includes studies written by experts on Canada, the United States, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Zealand.

The book is largely explorative in nature and provides the international community of welfare state researchers a profound basis for further research in the hope that more people will become interested in welfare state developments in more countries, not just the big model countries, but also the perhaps even more significant smaller, or less known, countries that do not occupy (unfortunately, not yet) the center of international social policy research.

After a short introductory chapter of the editor, Janine Brodie begins her story of the Canadian welfare state from its early beginnings in the second half of the 19th century. Brodie divides the history of the Canadian welfare state into three distinct periods: the first one was marked by a Laissez-Faire welfare state, the second period was a time of renaissance that was brought upon by liberal progressivists, and the third period is that of the neoliberal welfare state, here Brodie depicts especially the counter-intuitive outcomes of new social policies that marginalize children and lone mothers even greater.

In the following, Robert P. Scheurell examines the history of the American welfare state, seen from the special angle of Aboriginal welfare. Scheurell very much concentrates on the success of most important sets of ideologies that determined welfare outcomes since the end of the 18th century. In doing so, he shows that the new political hegemony of anti-welfare conservative ideologies is built on ideological platforms that are centuries old. Scheurell discusses different political-historical periods that alternated between degrees and forms of centralist and decentralist paradigms in national politics and in social policy making. At last, the chapter deals with current developments of American social policy from an urgently needed multiethnic perspective.

In chapter 4 of the book, Carmelo Mesa-Lago first classifies the overall development of social security reform in all of Latin America, identifying three different models of pension reform: one the Substitutive Model that completely replaces the public system of pension insurance with a private system; then the Parallel Model where the public system, while undergoing major reforms, continues to operate besides a new, private system; and, lastly, the Mixed Model where the public component guarantees a basic pension and the private component pays a supplementary pension. Then, Mesa-Lago gives an unbiased, but still very critical account of the privatization of social security in Latin America. His critique concentrates on the low coverage of privatized systems, the system-inherent gender discrimination, the very low competition among administrators of these private systems and the resulting enormous administrative costs and bad economic perfor-mance of these privately-managed pension funds.

In chapter 5, Michael Lavalette and Laura Penketh provide a detailed and commanding historical review of welfare state development in the United Kingdom, starting with the Liberal welfare reforms, the interwar years, the Beveridge Report, the postwar welfare state settlement, the Keynesian period, the period of welfare state crisis, the Conservative reforms of the Thatcher governments, and Tony Blair's Third Way policies, which, so the authors, continue many policies of its Conservative predecessors clearly following a neoliberal agenda in social wel-fare politics.

In the next chapter on Sweden, Ahn Sang-hoon and Sven E. Olsson-Hort shed light on long-forgotten fundaments in welfare state theory that explain the construction and development of modern welfare states, the importance of pro-welfare politics, and particularly pro-welfare alliances. Due to the specific nature of pro-welfare politics in Sweden, in particular the new feminist movement, the welfare state here continues to support a highly egalitarian society.

In his elaboration on the Danish welfare state, Peter Abrahamson concludes that the formerly Universal Model of social citizenship in Denmark drifts away to the Performative Model as regards social insurance, and the Clientelistic Model with regard to social assistance. In advancing his three models, Abrahamson (on the contrary to Esping-Andersen, 1990) conducts a meso-level comparison of different policy fields first before arriving at a distinct national picture. This new way of determining welfare state models opens up a new direction for future comparative welfare state research, which deserves a great deal of attention.

A big, but still often neglected welfare state is France, the case study, which has been examined by Jean-Paul Revauger. The contradictory influences of the welfare state regime in France are the outcome of political developments in the early postwar period, when General De Gaulle, so Revauger, opposed the social policy plans of the French exile government that had studied enthusiastically the Beveridgean reforms, while being located in the United Kingdom during World War II. As a result the principle of universalism ran counter to the Bismarckian principle of an occupational division of the social security system. The French welfare state entered a period of retrenchment following 1982, so Revauger, and was influenced by a succession of conservative and socialist governments ever since.

The German welfare model has been analyzed by Ingo Bode, who after giving a state-of-the-art review and a detailed depiction of the main elements of the German welfare state makes out a double fundament of welfare corporatism, con-sisting of both the social insurance system and the networks for social service provision. The second part of the study, scrutinizes recent, and truly profound, changes in the two corporatist worlds of German welfare capitalism.

In the next chapter, Giuliano Bonoli highlights the case of Switzerland, another less-well studied country in the realm of international welfare state comparison. Bonoli stresses the dual character of the Swiss welfare state, revealing both Conservative (Continental European) and Liberal (Anglo-Saxon) traits. Special attention is given to the problem of low birthrates and the issue of reconciliating work and family life, as well as the issue of immigration.

Italy has, so shows Franca Maino, undergone manifold changes, especially in the 1990s, with one major reform chasing the other. Maino concludes that the collapse of the old party system, with an all-dominating Christian Democratic Party at the center of politics, led to a deep change in the style and the content of social policy making ever since. The subsequent retrenchment and rationalization of the social protection system was, so Maino, in fact a result of highly consensual concertation between the government and powerful interest groups.

Chapter 12, written by Zeev Rosenhek, gives a very detailed picture of the Israeli welfare state development in the particular Middle Eastern sociopolitical context. Rosenhek reveals the highly exclusionary logic of Israeli social policy, with an intended segregation of different population groups (the original Israeli population, the later-arriving Israelis, and the Palestinian population). Rosenhek concludes that electoral considerations of all political parties still offset a growing influence of neoliberalism in the realm of social policy in Israel.

The next chapter throws light on the development of the welfare state in Japan. Christian Aspalter and Lai On-kwok reveal the important factors behind welfare state construction in the first half of the 20th century, and then the subsequent reluctant development of the Japanese welfare state. The last part of the study examines the difficulties the Japanese welfare state model is facing today, especially with regard to its newly-established long-term care insurance system.

The South Korean case is highlighted by Kim Sang-kyun and Ahn Sang-hoon. Again a political explanation is given when dealing with the determinants of welfare state development in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. The chapter carefully explains developments under authoritarian rule, democracy, and, recently, after the onset of the Asian Financial Crisis. Kim and Ahn make out the emergence of a seemingly contradictory mixture of welfare expansionism and market liberalization at the same time, with democratization being a key factor behind the continued extension of the welfare system.

Hong Kong, so Raymond K.H. Chan, does not lag behind European models of welfare state; it merely developed a distinct emphasis on the fields of e.g. housing policy, education policy, and social services. Chan delivers a neat, thorough historical account of the development of the Hong Kong model of welfare state. The last part of the chapter focuses on the newest developments after the Handover of Hong Kong to Chinese authorities.

Linda Low and Christian Aspalter characterize the Singaporean welfare state model as being non-redistributive. The government of Singapore focuses on wel-fare regulation and not welfare provision. Singapore's system of social security, the Central Provident Fund, is examined a great detail in the main part of the study. The Singaporean welfare state model, so Low and Aspalter, lacks structural flaws as those built into the traditional welfare state systems of the West, and offers a new welfare solution that supports economic and social development at the same time.

The last chapter written by Michael Goldsmith and Catherine Kingfisher examines the very interesting case of New Zealand. The history of the welfare state in New Zealand, so the two authors, represents a struggle between universalism and targeting. The chapter pays special attention to recent period of extensive welfare state retrenchment, as well as the particular problem of closing the gap between New Zealand's Aboriginal people/Polynesian population groups and the Caucasian majority.

All in all, the book managed to fulfill its major aims, that is (1) to explore new social policy development around the globe, (2) to investigate old and new models of welfare state in the arena of welfare state comparison, and (3) to support a greater inclusion of welfare state systems that are elsewhere highly neglected. The editor of the book did not aim at conducting one-to-one country comparisons, which due to the number of case studies, countries, included and the different ideological and cultural backgrounds of all contributors would have been an attempt, as the editor says, doomed to certain failure. Instead, the book delivers deep insights, due to the open, explorative nature of the book. There are detailed studies on the impact of welfare state systems on Aboriginal people and other minority populations, in e.g. the United States, Israel, and New Zealand. There are detailed examinations on the main determinants behind welfare state construction and development, ideological or political, as shown in the majority of country studies under scrutiny. There are, furthermore, studies that focus on the gendered outcome of traditional welfare state systems on the one hand, and the gendered outcome of welfare state retrenchment on the other. Finally, detailed evaluations of modern systems of social security provision, such as in the case of Latin American coun-tries, Japan, and Singapore, have been given as well.

The book turned out to more unison in the findings than one could ever hope for. Thus, it shows that social policy developments around the world are inter- connected, and that we can, and urgently need, to learn more about past and very recent developments worldwide in the realm of social policy. With regard to welfare state theory, the collected case studies also represent a vital, and rich, source for advancing the current theories of the welfare state. The book, hence, serves as an excellent starting point for a great deal more comparative, theoretical, and critical analytical research to come.

Christian Aspalter (Dept. of Social Welfare, Seoul National University, Korea)









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