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Modernising the welfare stateThe Blair legacy$
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Martin Powell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420404

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420404.001.0001

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Social investment: the discourse and the dimensions of change

Social investment: the discourse and the dimensions of change

(p.125) eight Social investment: the discourse and the dimensions of change
Modernising the welfare state

Alexandra Dobrowolsky

Ruth Lister

Policy Press

This chapter assesses the nature and scope of changes to the welfare state in relation to the ‘social investment’ turn. It argues that Tony Blair's New Labour governments recalibrated welfare state priorities, programmes, and expenditures, both as a response to social risk and to promote economic competitiveness, through an embrace of social investment discourses and practices. While social investment, at its core, is all about activation (that is, labour market policy ‘concerned with helping people successfully master transitions across the life-course’), it has nevertheless ‘activated’ far wider realms and actors than initially anticipated, having an impact on policy ideas and instruments, as well as institutions, interests, and identities, with implications beyond the conditional welfare state.

Keywords:   welfare state, social policy, New Labour, social risk, economic competitiveness

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