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By Peter Leonard

Peter Leonard presents an obtainable research of debates concerning the hindrance of the welfare country lower than the modern stipulations of postmodern scepticism and the triumphs of worldwide industry capitalism. within the final 20 years Western governments have sought to exchange the post-war welfare compact with neo-conservative individualism. The clients for the Left glance bleak. whilst, postmodern critique increases profound questions on the validity of a mass politics of emancipation in line with the common values of justice, cause and progress.

From a serious standpoint based in Marxism and feminism, Leonard makes use of components of postmodern deconstruction to contemplate how we would now re-think the current and way forward for welf

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The politics of difference, of the diverse Other, remains paradoxically locked into the past through continuing to do battle with the features of exclusion and domination which characterized a socialist politics which is now already dead, or at least on its death-bed. At the same time, this postmodern critical politics has not yet been able to envisage a strategy which builds upon difference through a new conception of a universal emancipatory struggle. In this, as in many other ways, the past haunts the present: it speaks to us of a lost hope, of disillusionment, but also of the comfort once gained from a certainty which we shall never again experience.

They are, therefore, culturally relative and are not necessarily shared, even as ideals, by other cultures. Other notions of human well-being, long rendered silent by Western colonialism, begin to take their place alongside those of the Eurocentred West - African, Aboriginal, Asian, and other culturally produced conceptions of welfare - and we slowly start to learn that it is possible to think differently than we have previously thought, perceive the world differently, even feel differently. But the fact that the narrative of emancipation is a ship which sails in a sea of different cultures and diverse social conditions enables us, at least, to envisage a process of arriving at some agreed values, which we can call universal by consent, and which are established as a result of political struggle which resolves itself in a consensus amongst those striving for emancipation.

The values of patriarchy and the 'proper' female role were rewarded; and the nonconforming poor, those who were morally degraded to begin with (people of colour, never married, and those who were divorced, separated or deserted) need not apply. (199 1 : 2 1 , 22; emphasis in original) The successor of ADC, renamed in 1962 AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), continues to carry similar symbolic functions addressed both to welfare recipients and to the poor in general: the importance of the work ethic, the moral obligations of mothers, the exclu­ sion of categories of undeserving.

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