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The Voluntary Sector, the State and Social Work in Britain
Charity Organisation Society/Family Welfare Association Since 1869
The story of welfare politics in Britain has usually been told in terms of a simple shift from individualism to collectivism and ever increasing amounts of state intervention. The Voluntary Sector, the State and Social Work in Britain offers a different perspective which shows that Britain has always had a mixed economy of welfare with the voluntary sector playing a major role. This book traces the ideas and practice of one of the most influential voluntary organisations, the Charity Organisation Society, which became the Family Welfare Association in 1946. It examines the meaning of voluntary personal social service, which became social work, and the nature of the shifting balance in social provision between the voluntary and statutory sectors from the late nineteenth to the twentieth century.
By taking a long view, this volume highlights the important shift in the meaning of 'partnership' between the state and voluntary sectors from the 'separate spheres' philosophy of the late nineteenth century to the more complementary, supplementary relationship of the mid-twentieth century, and finally to the pressure now being exerted on voluntary organisations to become alternative providers of social services. Through the history of the Family Welfare Association, the book traces the development of social work from voluntary work, which was seen as integral to ideas about social theory and social change, to professional practice which was forced to seek new relationships with the state and voluntary sector. As well as presenting a substantial history of a very significant charitable organisation, this important book analyses the nature of welfare provision over time and provides an in depth treatment of the development of principles and concepts relevant to current debates.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Professor Lewis has made a characteristically crisp contribution both to the history of voluntarism and to the current debate on its future. I particularly like the way in which she identifies both the continuities and the changes in the issues that the Family Welfare Association has had to address over its long history.' -- Nicholas Deakin, University of Birmingham, UK 'Lewis has written a book which repaying reading.' -- John Offer, Social Policy 'This volume is a valuable addition to the literature on social work and its origins in this country because it sets the theorizing ad the practice within the context of the history of ideas.' -- Social Policy & Administration