This book explores and discusses the relationship between concepts of responsibility and discourses of rights and the way in which rights are to be understood in relation to human dependency and interdependency. It explores how emergent discourses of human rights may change the ways in which the welfare state and its future are envisaged. It also aims to initiate a new kind of debate about the moral foundations of social policy and welfare reform. Although much research has been devoted to the discussion of citizenship and welfare, it has not been directly concerned with the ethical nexus that connects dependency, responsibility and rights. This book is an outcome of a UK-based research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The project focused on an interview-based study that explored the popular and welfare provider discourses as they impinge upon questions of dependency, responsibility and rights. In addition, some of the chapters of this book draw upon the analyses of policy and governmental documents or texts, analyses that were conducted or written up in direct conjunction with the interview study. Additional material has been drawn from papers given at the conference of the European Social Policy Research Network. All of the material in this book was placed in the context of a broader account of mutual dependency, social responsibility and human rights, and is used to develop a discussion of the ethics of welfare in a global context, and the potential tensions and synergies between the development of human rights and the maintenance of social and welfare rights. In addition to discussing the nature of the Economic and Social Research Council Study and the Tilburg conference, the introductory chapter also discusses the outline of this book. Part One of the book sets the theoretical scene by addressing dependency, responsibility and rights as ideological constructions. Part Two presents the findings from the research described earlier on popular and welfare provider discourses. Part Three presents the findings from other research and focuses on the experiences of welfare service users and benefits recipients. Part Four draws together the themes developed in the earlier chapters.
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