by Pete Alcock and Gary Craig.
ISBN 0 333 74866 2
In recent years books on comparative social policy and social
welfare have focused heavily on Europe. Studies of international
trends in welfare have been mainly theoretical, rather than a
collection of country studies such as this one.
It is an ambitious and wide-ranging text, including chapters on
12 countries in the developed world, with each addressing several
major topics in the broad field of social policy.
These topics include a historical review, key issues and
principles affecting social welfare developments, and the future
prospects for social policy in each country. In their introduction
the editors acknowledge that the writers faced a daunting task in
chapters of around 8,000 words, making it difficult to do justice
to their complex subject matter.
The editors state that their book is not a comparative text but
is rather a resource for the comparative study of social policy. As
such it is useful in providing clearly written, up-to-date
information and analysis of welfare developments in countries
under-represented in other studies, for example, South Africa and
But it was probably unwise to include so many countries in a
medium-sized book in which social care receives limited
Brian Munday is senior lecturer in international social
care, University of Kent.