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Analysing social policy concepts and languageComparative and Transnational Perspectives$
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Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306443

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306443.001.0001

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Panacea, problem or perish

Panacea, problem or perish

social policy language in New Zealand

(p.247) THIRTEEN Panacea, problem or perish
Analysing social policy concepts and language

Neil Lunt

Policy Press

This chapter examines the shift in New Zealand’s discursive articulations of social policy including usage of “welfare” and “welfare state.” Identifying the increased attention to language within social policy analysis, the chapter adopts an historical lens to examine change over the past five decades. It identifies the rise and fall of welfare and the emergence of alternative concepts including social development under Labour-led administrations (1999-2008) and subsequent attempts by the National Party to write a new narrative. Drawing on extensive archival research that spans the establishment of the welfare state to contemporary events, the chapter’s analytical approach serves to question: 1) language use (predicates, phrases, and vocabulary); 2) narratives, binaries, and indexes that invoke relations and values; 3) the uses of metaphors, myths, and naturalizations; 4) pointers that cue readers to make bridging assumptions; and, 5) subject positioning within texts.

Keywords:   New Zealand, welfare state, social policy language, Rogernomics, social development, narratives, New Zealand Labour Party, National Party

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