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The third way and social welfare : the myth of post-emotionalism

Dean, Hartley (2003) The third way and social welfare : the myth of post-emotionalism. Social Policy and Administration, 37 (7). pp. 695-708. ISSN 0144-5596

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Identification Number: 10.1046/j.1467-9515.2003.00366.x


The ‘passive’ welfare state was accused of promoting a dependency culture. ‘Active’ welfare and the ‘what works?’ approach of Britain’s New Labour government is allegedly implicated in an age of post-emotionalism, in which people are largely indifferent to the needs of others and committed primarily to their personal well-being. This paper seeks first, to extend recent debates about agency and motivation in social policy and relate them to the notion of post-emotionalism. Second, it draws on a recent empirical study of popular and welfare provider discourses, which suggests that popular opinion can accommodate an appreciation of human interdependency, while welfare providers remain committed to a public service ethos. None the less, Third Way thinking is associated with a narrowing of solidaristic responsibilities. The problem for the future of health, social care and state welfare policies lies not with the imagined consequences of post-emotionalism, so much as with an ideological context that perpetuates a distorted ethic of responsibility.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an Article published in Social Policy and Administration 37(7) pp. 695-708 © 2003 Blackwell Publishing. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright © and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL ( of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:10

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