Synopses & Reviews
Controversial Issues in Social Policy
By: Howard Jacob Karger (University of Houston ) ,
James Midgley (University of California, Berkeley) ,
Peter A. Kindle (University of Houston ) and
C. Brené Brown (University of Houston )
Controversial Issues in Social Policy is an edited collection of contemporary social policy debates argued between some of the foremost thinkers in the field of social work as well as prominent authors in other fields.
Controversial Issues in Social Policy is divided into three parts. The first part, Social Policy and the American Welfare State, focuses on general issues in social welfare policy. Part two looks at The Culture Wars: Discrimination, Stigma and Social Policy. Part three examines Social Work and Social Service Delivery Issues.
New to This Edition
16 brand new debates on some of the most controversial issues of today, such as:
· The issue of open borders and immigration, debated by Tatcho Mindiola and Howard Karger.
· The privatization of Social Security, debated by William Beach and Steven Rose.
· The pros and cons of National Health Insurance, debated by Manuel Zamora and Robert Moffit.
· The legalization of same-sex marriage, debated by Lori Messinger and Focus on the Family’s Glenn Stanton.
* This reader can be packaged at a special price with any Allyn and Bacon title. Contact your local sales representative for more information. You can also find your local sales representative at http://ablongman.com/replocator.
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Controversial Issues in Social Policy is an edited collection of contemporary social policy debates argued between some of the foremost thinkers in the field of social work as well as prominent authors in other fields. Its 16 debate topics were selected to cover a wide range of professional interests in the field of social policy and are divided into three parts:
Part I: Social Policy and the American Welfare State
Part II: The Culture Wars: Discrimination, Stigma and Social Policy
Part III: Social Work and Social Service Delivery Issues
It is a great text for anyone interested in social welfare policy, public policy and contemporary issues at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. It stresses the importance of critical and independent thought in the educational process.
Controversial Issues in Social Policy is an edited collection of contemporary social policy debates argued between some of the foremost thinkers in the field of social work as well as prominent authors in other fields. The 16 debate topics were selected to cover a wide range of professional interests in the field of social policy and are divided into three parts. The book stresses the importance of critical and independent thought in the educational process. For anyone interested in social welfare policy, public policy and contemporary issues at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
About the Author
Although politically liberal, the editors believe in the marketplace of ideas, a concept first articulated by Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919. The marketplace of ideas concept holds that the best policy arises from the competition of divergent ideas in a free and transparent public discourse, an important element of liberal democracy. To that end, we have not stacked the deck in the debates and tried to give both sides a fair hearing. In this third edition, we have intentionally expanded the politically conservative voices from organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, and Focus on the Family. It is our belief that eventually the most salient ideas will win out, regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum. Positions must stand the test of analytical scrutiny before they can be accepted. Critical debate facilitates the twin tasks of validation and refutation. It also heightens an understanding of the issues, permits contradictions to be resolved, and ultimately promotes correct rather than false knowledge.
Social policy is a dynamic field and innovations and revisions in policy thinking regularly occur. However, remarkably little has changed in social policy since the first edition of this book was published. The country remains split between hard-line conservatives and the more suffocating elements of politically correct thinking. Social policy is still shaped by rigid ideological commitments even though these are often presented as thoughtful and original policy ideas that will improve social conditions. One example is the much touted compassionate conservatism of the Bush administration which seems to be reserved for the needy rich instead of the needy poor. Similarly, the government=s new emphasis on marriage as a solution to the problems of poverty and family deprivation resurrects cultural themes in American social thought that are hardly new or innovative. There is an urgent need to examine these and other policy developments critically and to subject them to intense debate. Books of this kind are needed now more than ever.
Exposing students to critical debate is also an effective teaching device. While rote learning has an obvious role in the educational process, the task of helping students to gain an understanding of the most important issues in the field requires more than just the memorization of facts. In subjects such as social work and social policy, where judgment is as important as knowing facts, students need to think critically, to be able to grasp complex nuances, and to analyze issues and defend their positions. The lecture format is not always the most effective means to inculcate these kinds of intellectual skills. We hope that the debates in this book will assist instructors to promote passionate discussions among students and to facilitate the critical thinking needed to enhance our field. Now more than ever, the profession needs innovative thinking that supports bold new ideas not hashed over Aconsensus@ opinions that masquerade as truth.
We have included debates in this book that will encourage social work students to think critically and to develop their analytical skills, in fact, many of these debates require careful and critical review. We also hope that instructors and general readers will also benefit from the debates. For this reason, many of the debates address very difficult issues. Indeed, some of the positions argued by our contributors are unpopular, but as was argued previously, it is important that social workers understand them. We believe strongly in the ability of our readers to determine for themselves which arguments are the most valid and relevant. For this reason, we do not avoid issues because of their contentiousness. It is hoped that instructors will use this book in the spirit in which it was written and to expose students to the varied opinions found in the rich terrain of social policy. As stated earlier, one of the strengths of social policy is its openness to various interpretations, which makes it intellectually challenging and exciting. Indeed, we hope this book will communicate the exhilaration of analyzing the complexities of social welfare policy.
The reader should not assume, despite the passionate tone or persuasive impact of these debates, that the authors personally endorse the issues they present. Controversy is the essence of intellectual discourse. Although it may produce sharp disagreements, the role of critical disputation in furthering knowledge is universally recognized. While scholars may strenuously promote particular positions, the capacity to do so requires mastery of both sides of an issue.
Table of Contents
Part I: Social Policy and the American Welfare State
DEBATE 1: Is the American Welfare State Compatible with the Market Economy?
YES: James Midgley
NO: Howard Karger
DEBATE 2: Should We Open the Southern U.S. Border to Immigration?
YES: Tatcho Mindiola
NO: Howard Karger
DEBATE 3: Should Social Security Be Privatized?
YES: William W. Beach
NO: Steven Rose
DEBATE 4: Does America Need National Health Insurance?
YES: Manuel F. Zamora
NO: Robert E. Moffit
DEBATE 5: Is the War on Drugs Effective?
YES: Peter A. Kindle
NO: Diana M. DiNitto
DEBATE 6: Can Asset-Based Welfare Policy Really Help the Poor?
YES: Michael Sherraden
NO: James Midgley
Part II: The Culture Wars: Discrimination, Stigma, and Social Policy
DEBATE 7: Should Same-Sex Marriages Be Legalized?
YES: Lori Messinger
NO: Glenn T. Stanton
DEBATE 8: Has Affirmative Action Gone Too Far?
YES: José Enrique Idler
NO: Jolyn Mikow
DEBATE 9: Has the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Gone Too Far?
YES: Howard Karger
NO: John C. Bricout
DEBATE 10: Does Social Work Discriminate Against Evangelical Christians?
YES: David Hodge
NO: Gary R. Anderson
DEBATE 11: Should Abortion Rights Be an Accepted Social-Work Value?
YES: John T. Pardeck
NO: Roland Meinert
Part III: Social Work and Social-Service Delivery Issues
DEBATE 12: Is Federal Government Support of Faith-Based Social-Service Agencies Consistent with Social-Work Values?
YES: Gaynor Yancey
NO: John R. Belcher
DEBATE 13: Should Social Services Be Privatized?
YES: David Stoesz
NO: Ira C. Colby
DEBATE 14: Has Welfare Reform Worked?
YES: Kirk A. Johnson and Robert Rector
NO: Mimi Abramovitz
DEBATE 15: Can Child Protective Services Be Reformed?
YES: Kristine E. Nelson, Diane K. Yatchmenoff, and Katharine Cahn
NO: David Stoesz
DEBATE 16: Are Family Drug Courts Working in Child Welfare?
YES: Patricia Sardau-Beckler and Scott W. M. Burrus
NO: Michael J. Beckler