social exclusion, lack of education, inadequate housing and poor health
are all persistent problems of modern life. In Britain, industrialisation
brought wealth and progress to many but its correlate urbanism also brought
hazardous by-product such as the creation of overcrowded cities, where people
flocked in numbers to find deprivation, slum-dwellings and misery.
Social Policy: From the Victorians to the
In nineteenth century Britain, philanthropists and voluntary organisations
struggled to address these new and enlarged social problems. They funded
new tenement blocks for people to live in, opened soup kitchens and visited
the poor. But money and good will from the voluntary sector could not
eliminate these growing social problems. By the mid-twentieth century
government had stepped in to create the welfare state and the National
Health Service, but in the following decades, social problems did not
abate. The continuing struggle to address these fundamental social problems
gave rise to an important area of study and of action: social policy.
In this seminar, Susannah Morris, lecturer in social policy at the London
School of Economics and Political Science, considers the discipline, action
and importance of social policy over time. Using the case of housing and
regeneration in the East End of London from the Victorian period to the
present day as an example, Morris explores the similarities and differences
in the roles of state and voluntary organisations into the twenty-first
century and the Victorian models of social welfare. She argues that what
we think of as social policy problems are in fact constructed from a mixture
of economic, social and political circumstances and attitudes, and as
such the prescribed solutions to them have fluctuated over time.
- Describe the remit of social policy as an area of study and as an
area of action.
the efficacy of different housing initiatives in the East End from
the late nineteenth century.
the philosophy and motives behind the erection of tenement buildings
such as the Katharine Buildings.
and describe the different phases of regeneration witnessed in the
East End from the late nineteenth century.
and contrast different ways of categorising and addressing social
problems in Britain, from the Victorians to the Blairites.
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