Glossary of American Social Welfare

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Market economy
the primary mode of economic activity is that when a person desires a good or a service, he or she pays for it at market value—the amount it is worth
Free market
Economic market in which supply and demand are not regulated
Political perspectives
describe a collective mind-set systematized enough to have a semblance of universality, or “worldview”
Filters through which we screen & interpret experiences
Enable us to make sense of complex world
Liberals and conservatives
share belief in maintaining society as currently structured
Radicals and reactionaries
reservations about existing social arrangements
Attitudes Towards: Change
Conservative- change is generally not desirable; it is better to keep things as they are.
Liberal- change is generally good; it brings progress. Moderate change is best.
Radical- change is a good thing, especially if it means a fundamental change in the system.
Attitudes Towards:Human Nature
Conservative- people are essentially selfish; they need to be controlled.
Liberal- people are basically good; they need structure to reinforce good impulses.
Radical- people are basicaly good; they can be corrupted by institutions.
Attitudes Towards: Individual Behavior
Conservative- individuals have free will; they are responsible for their own lives and problems.
Liberal- individuals are not entirely autonomous or self-governing; enviornment plays a part in problems people face.
Radical- individual behavior is strongly influenced by social and economic structures.
Attitudes Towards: Family
Conservative: the traditional family is the basic unit of society; it should not face government interference.
Liberal: the family is changing; it needs social and government supports.
Radical: the traditional family is oppressive; the changing family needs government supports.
Attitudes Towards: Society
Conservative: society is inherently fair, it functions well on its own, and it is a system of interrelated parts.
Liberal: soceity needs regulation to ensure fair conpetition between various interests.
Radical: society contains inequalities, conflict between those with power and those without, and thus it needs changing.
Attitudes Towards: Roles of the Government and the Economic System
Conservative: a free-market economy is the best way to ensure prosperity and fulfillment of individual needs; the government role is to support, not regulate, the market.
Liberal: a free-maket economy needs regulation by government to ensure fairness; government programs are necessary to help meet basic human needs.
Radical: a market economy is exploitative and inherently unfair; alternatives include mixed public/private economy and a socialist system.
Capitalist-Puritan (CP) Value System: Conservative
Responsible for own success/failure
Human nature is basically evil but can be overcome by an act of will
Primary purpose is acquisition of material prosperity, which is achieved through hard work
Primary purpose of society is to maintain law and order so acquisition is possible
Unsuccessful/deviant person is undeserving of help
Some efforts to rehabilitate/motivate person to greater efforts on own behalf are alright
Rewards/punishments are primary change incentives
Humanist-Positivist-Utopian (HPU) Value System: Liberal
Purpose of society to fulfill material and emotional needs
If needs fulfilled, attain state of goodness, etc. whereby most social problems would be solved
External circumstances hinder above
Such circumstances are subject to manipulation by those who possess sufficient technical and scientific knowledge and who use, in general, what is known as the “scientific method”
Consequently, individuals and society are ultimately perfectible
Judeo-Christian (J-C) Value System: Undergirds & Mitigates Others
People are created beings but act as if autonomous
People are fallible, yet capable of acts of great courage or unselfishness
Difference between individuals in terms of good and bad is insignificant compared with the standard demanded by their creator; as a consequence, a person cannot judge others in such terms
People’s greatest good lies in terms of their relationships with others and with their creator
People are capable of choice, but may need help in making this choice
Love is ultimate victor over force
Three viewpoints have affected U.S. approaches to Soical welfare
C: Suspicious of change, emphasizes accountability for own life situations; propose limited role for government in welfare arena and look to market economy to handle most human needs
L: Finds moderate change/reform useful, stresses importance of external environment in shaping lives and sees positive role for government in providing sw services and regulating excesses of market economy; believes in government regulation and supports federal programs for disadvantaged
R: Individuals both shaped by and shapers of environment; promote more fundamental alteration in the system, calling for changes leading to an equitable distribution of power and resources; often see social problems as inherent in nature of capitalism
Stigma & Social Welfare
aspect of a person’s life that ruins his or her identity
stigma attached to welfare?
– The value placed on work in our society
– Norm of reciprocity
– Statistical discrimination
– Taxpayer resentment theory
– Individualism: explains both economic and non-economic areas
Defining Social Welfare
Definition must be:
• Exclusive: fitting no other activity
• Inclusive: encompassing every sw activity
• Economic transfers outside the market system
– Advantages: easy to separate sw services from others and includes services to non-poor (i.e. de-stigmatizing)
– Limitation: not inclusive—not all sw programs involve economic transfers or exist outside market system
• Benefits and services to help people meet basic needs
– Advantages: both inclusive and exclusive
– Limitation: no explanation of function in society
• SW is the institution in modern industrial society that functions to promote interdependence and to deal with the problem of dependence
– Interdependence = adequately performs all roles connected with a given status and has role partners who do the same
– 2 levels of adequate societal functioning
• Individual role performance
• Institutional performance
• Dependence = inability to function in interdependent manner (i.e. unable to perform roles)
– Regardless of whether due to individual or institutional performance
Social Institutions
• Social institutions: the enduring patterns of statuses and roles organized by societies to ensure the performance of functions necessary for its survival:
• Production-distribution-consumption
• Population and socialization
• Social integration
• Mutual support
• Social control and social order
• Social change
Other Conceptualizations of SW
• Institutional
– Views sw services as normal, non-stigmatized functions of a modern industrial society
• Residual
– Believe sw services should only be available in emergency cases
Classification of SW Services
• By type of client served
• By source of funding
• By level of administration
• By nature of service
Authors’ Classification
Classify according to broad societal function
• Services for people who are economically dependent
• Cash support programs
• In-Kind Programs
• Services for people who are dependent because they are unable to fulfill roles, as defined by themselves
• Services for people who are dependent because they are unable to fulfill roles, as defined by others
Person-in-Environment Approach
The approach social workers take to social problems which looks at both problems in individual role performance and in the institutions in which problems occur .
– This is unique to social work
Motivations & Goals of
Social Welfare Activities
• Conservative
– Purpose: maintain status quo (Residual)
• Enlightened self-interest
– Motivation is perceived moral obligation
• Noblesse Oblige
• Liberal
– Purpose: respond to problems endemic to industrialized society (Institutional)
• Mass society thesis
– Motivation is primarily humanitarian
• Individual rights
• Radical
– Purpose (as is): deliberate effort to control masses and prevent social change
• Purpose (should be): promote radical social change resulting in more equalitarian social order
– Motivation (as is): social control
Social Institutions: Functions
Family and kinship- primary are population and socialization and mutual support; secondary are social integretion and social order/control
Government and politics- primary are social/order control and social change; secondary are mutal support
Economic- Production-distribution-consumption
Religion- primary are social intergration and mutual support; secondary are socialization, social order/control and social change
Education- socialization and social control/order
Welfare state
Society that has accepted institutional conception of social welfare
U.S. considered residual welfare state

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