The Welfare State

Nick Wikeley

in The Oxford Handbook of Legal Studies

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780199248179
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:
The Welfare State


The social security function of the Welfare State was quintessentially the product of (and a response to) the pressures generated by the development of mass democracies in the advanced economies of the early part of the twentieth century. However, with a handful of notable exceptions, it is only in the last forty years that serious legal scholarship on the modern Welfare State has emerged. Relatively little had been written on the subject prior to 1960 and most of that corpus of work was fundamentally descriptive rather than analytical in nature. This article explores the nature, direction, and future of such scholarship and accordingly has three main sections. The first outlines the development of legal scholarship since 1960 on the principles and operation of the main arm of the Welfare State, namely income maintenance systems, and how that scholarship reflects national welfare structures. The second explores the central themes in that scholarship, and the third highlights the principal issues for future research in this field.

Keywords: social security; welfare state; legal scholarship; income maintenance systems; welfare system

Article.  8115 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Legal System and Practice

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