American Policy Making: Welfare as Ritual

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 - 247 páginas
American Policy Making will surely create controversy by challenging the prevailing ethos of humanitarianism. Epstein points to the perils of unrestricted subjectivity--the corruption of both social science and social discourse--and argues for a more disciplined approach to policy making. Rather than scientific theory and applied scientific practice, the social sciences have been appropriated to create ideology--corrective myths in support of social denial. The social sciences script fables of cure, prevention, and rehabilitation that falsely testify to the feasibility of inexpensive and culturally compatible solutions to deep social problems. Rather than providing effective service, social welfare programs are rituals of social values, expressing, proselytizing, reaffirming, and strengthening factional preferences. This is a uniquely unsentimental analysis of American social policy-making with great scope and depth, particularly in the personal social services, philosophic and historical dimensions. It is also a bold call to action to create more effective policies for social welfare.

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Contenido

Political Theory Ideology and Social Welfare
25
The Willow World of Virtue Rationality and Effectiveness in the Personal Social Services
47
The American Ethos 1 Two Civil Religions
91
The American Ethos 2 America SpeaksThe Pols and Policy Choice
111
The American Ethos 3 Social Welfare Services as Rituals of the Civil Religion
135
Two Romances The Enlightenment and the AntiEnlightenment
151
Science Limited Science and Scientism
193
Conclusion
211
Afterword
221
References
223
Index
237
About the Author
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William M. Epstein is professor of social work at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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