The politics of redirecting the social policy - towards a double movement
Murphy, Mary (2010) The politics of redirecting the social policy - towards a double movement. In: Transforming Ireland: Challenges, Critiques, Resources. Manchester University Press, Manchester University. ISBN 0-7190-7893-8
This chapter examines recent social policy directions in the context of the neo-liberal macro environment and examines how social policy reform can contribute towards a democratic and egalitarian Ireland. The chapter argues that a shift to positive social policy and more equitable outcomes requires a corresponding shift in power and structures of governance. The first section of this chapter briefly outlines the nature of Irish social security system (the past) and reflects how Irish income maintenance policy has developed over the last two decades (the present) in the context of an increasing neo-liberal macro policy context. The chapter then proceeds by reviewing the debate prompted by NESC’s Developmental Welfare State (2005) and subsequent policy proposals to develop active social policy (the future). Having reflected on the likely direction for income maintenance policy over the next two decades it argues that the proposed policy direction will not necessarily enhance efficiency or equity but will redefine the concept of citizenship for those on low income and particularly for women. The final section examines social policy governance and asks what governance process might make egalitarian outcomes more likely (the politics). The chapter concludes by highlighting what needs to be done to maximize the potential transformative role of civil society.
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