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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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Social policy language in the United States

Social policy language in the United States

(p.277) FIFTEEN Social policy language in the United States
Analysing social policy concepts and language

Jennifer Klein

Daniel Béland

Klaus Petersen

Policy Press

This chapter traces the construction of categories of dependency and independence in the United States. It links the meanings of these terms and the deployment of them to discourses of who is a worker entitled to benefits of citizenship. The understandings of who is or is not a worker has depended on such historical factors as skill, location of the labor, gender, and race. Moreover, the language of the welfare state is “security.” This chapter looks at the emergence of the language of security during the New Deal, what it meant, and the contests to define it after World War II. Those who fit within the rhetorical and legal category of “real worker” ended up within welfare state’s realm of rights and security; those defined outside found themselves often facing its more coercive or punitive side. Finally, the rising predominance of service labor in American society has challenged and changed the language of work, dependence, employee benefits, and rights.

Keywords:   United States, social security, labor, New Deal, welfare state, gender, race, language of work, dependence

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