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Title: Public opinion, ideology and the Welfare State : a study of citizen attitudes to, and intellectual theorizing about, the Welfare State in the UK from 1979 to 1983
Author: Taylor-Gooby, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0001 3504 9961
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1984
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This thesis seeks to give an account of the development of popular ideas and social administration theories about the welfare state in recent years. A number of writers suggest that in the late 1970s and the early 1980s governments have been able to restructure or undermine the state welfare system because popular sentiment has shifted away from support for the welfare state. This view is reinforced by a reading of the post-war politics of welfare as a passage from Butskellism to the new right, from consensus to ideological conflict. It is argued that recent developments in welfare are often seen as of exaggerated importance. The major spending services have in fact sustained little damage. Public opinion has always been ambivalent, favouring some areas of welfare spending and viewing others with suspicion. Private welfare provision has always been warmly supported by many people who also regard state services as desirable. The current situation may be interpreted as readily as the continued expression of these ambivalences as it may in terms of reversal. The problems of welfare are due in large part to the continuity of family and work ethic policies under changing circumstances. The thesis also discusses recent academic theorising in the subject area of social administration. Here continuity is again evident behind a facade of change. Feminist, marxist and new right approaches challenge the dominant tradition in the subject, which stresses state interventionism in a patriarchal, capitalist society as a royal road to welfare. The argument traces the way in which these intellectual challenges have been restructured in reformist terms, so that they no longer represent a threat to the central paradigm in the subject. An explanation of the continuities in ideas about the role of the state in welfare among both intellectuals and the public at large is sought in marxist theories of ideology, based on the notion of commodity fetishism. General patterns of ideas in our society are heavily influenced by our everyday experience of market and patriarchy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: HM Sociology