Power and Social Policy

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
RC19 Sociology of Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy (host committee)

Language: English

Changing power relations shape social policy decisions and outcomes. In general, it is common in sociological and political theory to draw a line between power as capacity (power to) and power as domination (power over). On one hand, political actors can bring people together to form coalitions and mobilization politically in order to reform social policy. On the other hand, social policy arrangements may reflect and even exacerbate asymmetrical power relations and forms of domination associated with factors such as age, class, ethnicity, and gender. These two sides of power intersect in part because the mobilization capacity of actors (power to) can vary due to institutionally-embedded forms of economic and social domination.

The objective of this session is to analyze the multifaceted intersection between social policy and asymmetrical power relations around the world. Questions raised may include: How do new coalitions emerge in the contemporary politics of social policy? What factors increase or decrease the capacity of political actors to mobilize various social policy constituencies? How do social and political actors mobilize to use social policy to fight different forms of economic and social inequality? How does policy design affect the changing distribution of economic and political power in society? How do social policy ideas and discourse reflect or challenge asymmetrical power relations? How do beneficiaries and disadvantaged groups cope with, or resist against, social policy-related forms of domination? Finally, how do changing power relations shape the politics of social policy change in contemporary societies?

Session Organizer:
Daniel BELAND, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Oral Presentations
Managing CCTs in Brazil 2001 to 2017: Power, Agents, and Reputations
Tracy FENWICK, Australian National University, Australia; Lucio RENNO, Universidade National de Brasilia, Brazil
Distributed Papers
A Neoliberal Government Approaching to Universalistic Social Policy? Institutions, Social Movements, and Political Mediation in the Development of South Korean Childcare Policy
Jin-Wook SHIN, Department of Sociology, Chung-Ang University, Republic of Korea; Jin-Hee CHOI, Korean Women's Development Institute, South Korea
Welfare Policy Reforms, Citizenship and Social Movement Mobilization: A Comparative Case-Study of the Disability Movement in Germany, Norway and the UK
Rune HALVORSEN, University of Leeds, United Kingdom; Angharad BECKETT, University of Leeds, United Kingdom; Mark PRIESTLEY, University of Leeds, United Kingdom; Anne WALDSCHMIDT, University of Cologne, Germany
The Politics of Social Assistance in Contemporary Asia: Comparative Analysis of China, India, and Turkey
Burak GUREL, Koc University, Turkey; Indrajit ROY, University of York, United Kingdom