Volume I, Analytical Approaches, comprises a history of welfare state theory, with essays on modernization, functionalism and the industrialization thesis, neo-Marxist theories, the power resources approach, managing and sharing risk, and polity-centred and institutional approaches. Volume II, Varieties and Transformations, begins with articles defining varieties of welfare states and then proceeds with essays on welfare state retrenchment and its roots, globalization, post-industrialism, Europeanization, and global social policy. Volume III, Legitimation, Achievement and Integration addresses the issues and challenges of the contemporary welfare state: its justification, economic results and entanglements, human public motivations and attitudes, multiculturalism, gender,the generational contract.
These are among the strategies that Brenner recommends for feminism in an essay on "The Feminization of Poverty, Comparable Worth, and Feminist Political Discourse" and two essays on welfare reform. In these essays, as in two essays in a section titled "New Politics of the Family," (one of these is coauthored by Nancy Holmstrom) Brenner calls for supporting mothers (and fathers) with subsidized services including "free before-and after-school programs, quality childcare including a living wage for childcare providers, and state-mandated employment policies (such as paid parental leave for men and women, flexible hours and paid leave for family responsibilities)." Brenner argues in favor of such policies, which would "provide working mothers with support," rather than welfare strategies that demand that poor women have the right to stay home with their children. Brenner usefully distinguishes socialist from liberal demands for such public services, childcare, for example, in that socialism demands that they be "worker- and client-controlled, democratic, and integrated into the communities they serve."
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