Social welfare cannot really be bound by a solid definition. It has been used in varying ways by different people, depending on what it is that they want to cover.
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), “social welfare generally denotes the full range of organized activities of voluntary and governmental agencies that seek to prevent, alleviate, or contribute to the solution of recognized social problems, or to improve the well-being of individuals, groups, or communities.”
At times, social welfare is used to refer to aspects of wellbeing material, like basic access to economic resources. Others use it to refer to less tangible conditions like happiness, contentment, the absence of any kind of threat, and confidence with regard to the future, more generally clubbed together under the term “quality of life”.
Social welfare can refer to individual welfare, but like its name implies, it is used on most occasions to refer to a collective form of wellbeing- like that of a community, or an entire nation.
Social policy researchers very often have studied the production and sustenance of welfare policies, with their work drawing attention to different sources that are involved in the process. One of the ways in which this can be understood is through the ‘welfare triangle’.
The Production of social welfare
Source: adapted from Evers (1998)
The welfare triangle helps understand the sources which people attain their welfare from. Each of us is dependent on our links with the market, state, families and communities in which we live, albeit to varying degrees. In the figure are imposed the four different points of a compass. This sort of comparison is merely used as an illustration. I...
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...rts”. The cost difference explains why, also giving a complete, unlimited and wholesome meal. A meal typically consists of rice or chapattis sambar or dal and curd, containing 550 calories.
1. National Association of Social Workers, Encyclopedia of Social Work Volume II. 1971, p.1446
2. Baldock, J., Manning, N. and Vickerstaff, S. 2007. Social Policy: Third edition. Oxford University Press
3. Rao, V. Re-imagining and Restructuring Social Work Method
4. Alcock, P. & Powell, M. 2011. Welfare theory and development. Sage Publications Ltd.
1. Akshaya Patra: Improving Education, One Meal at a Time http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/akshaya-patra-improving-education-one-meal-at-a-time/
2. Meal scheme in ‘capability trap’ by Yamini Aiyar http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/ZND1PevLjD6anekcGVl0bM/Meal-scheme-in-capability-trap.html
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