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Analysing social policy concepts and languageComparative and Transnational Perspectives$
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Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306443

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306443.001.0001

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date: 19 August 2017

Original and imitated or elusive and limited? Towards a genealogy of the welfare state idea in Britain

Original and imitated or elusive and limited? Towards a genealogy of the welfare state idea in Britain

Chapter:
(p.127) SIX Original and imitated or elusive and limited? Towards a genealogy of the welfare state idea in Britain
Source:
Analysing social policy concepts and language
Author(s):

Daniel Wincott

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447306443.003.0007

Although modern social policy has earlier roots and important foundations elsewhere, the welfare state is widely thought to have originated in Britain. That is, the distinctive configuration of state policy and public commitment defined as the welfare state is widely thought to have emerged first in the UK after 1945. Novel terminology?a new language of the welfare state?is part of this historical narrative. Crucially, it includes the idea of the welfare state itself, often attributed to Archbishop Temple (1941). Standard accounts depict the golden age of the welfare state, inspired by these ideas, as starting in Britain from 1945. By contrast, the analysis in this chapter draws attention to external influences?particularly from Germany and the USA?on welfare state language in Britain. It retrieves the highly contested, and much later, consolidation of the welfare state as the hegemonic social policy discourse in the UK. Finally, it reflects on the significance of the mistaken standard narrative about the emergence of the welfare state idea.

Keywords:   Britain, welfare state, historical narrative, golden age of the welfare state, social policy discourse

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