To coincide with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, this event – supported by the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS) and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (CIGS) – provided an opportunity to reflect on the rich heritage of critical social policy developed within the School. Emeritus Professor Fiona Williams OBE has been central to the development of critical approaches within social policy and her new book takes stock of the (partial) progress made so far and what needs to happen next. Panel Discussants will be Dr Daniel Edmiston and Dr Roxana Barbulescu(CERS).
Watch the recording of the event here.
Emeritus Professor Fiona Williams OBE has been central to the development of critical approaches within social policy and her new book takes stock of the (partial) progress made so far and what needs to happen next.
‘Welfare states face profound challenges. Widening economic and social inequalities have been intensified by austerity politics, sharpened by the rise in ethno-nationalism and exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, recent decades have seen a resurgence of social justice activism at both the local and the transnational level. Yet the transformative power of feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial/decolonial thinking has become relatively marginal to core social policy theory, while other critical approaches – around disability, sexuality, migration, age and the environment – have found recognition only selectively. This book provides a much-needed new analysis of this complex landscape, drawing together critical approaches in social policy with intersectionality and political economy. The book contextualizes contemporary social policies not only in the global crisis of finance capitalism but also in the interconnected global crises of care, ecology and racialized borders. These shape and are shaped at national scale by the intersecting dynamics of family, nation, work and nature. Through critical assessment of these realities, the book probes the ethical, prefigurative and transformative possibilities for a future welfare commons.’