The book traces the political history of the concept of social
policy. Social policy" originated in Germany in the mid 19th
century as a scholarly term that made a career in politics. The
term became more prominent only after World War II. Kaufmann, the
doyen of the sociology of social policy in Germany, argues that
social policy" responds to the modern disjunction between "state"
and "society" diagnosed by the German philosopher Hegel. Hegel's
disciple Lorenz von Stein saw social policy as a means to pacify
the capitalist class conflict. After World War II, social policy
expanded in an unprecedented way, changing its character in the
process. Social policy turned from class politics into a policy for
the whole population, with new concepts - like "social security,"
"redistribution" and "quality of life" - and new overarching
formulas, "social market economy" and "social state" (the German
version of "welfare state"). Both formulas have remained
indeterminate and contested, indicating the inherent openness of
the idea of the "social."
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