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Review of Nick Manning's article "The Politics of Welfare"

This review critically reviews the article ‘The Politics of Welfare’ written by Nick Manning, published in 2003. The first part of the review will briefly analyze the purpose and the effectiveness of the article’s structure, investigating how the information is set out and whether the reader can access it efficiently. In the second part, the review will critique the article, evaluating its objectivity and coverage as well as the tenability of the arguments presented. Finally, the review will rate the article in terms of its execution, accessibility and credibility.
Intent of the article
The author clearly states the intent and the learning outcomes of article in the introduction itself. The stated intent of the article can be divided into five broad themes; a) to understand the role of governments in the making of social policy b) to understand the general structure of government departments which make social policy c) to perceive the complex nature of power, and the many groups that seek to exercise it d) to make aware that there are fundamentally different models of the operation of the modern state, depending on who holds power and how they get it e) to recognize that state social policy is increasingly constrained by European and global changes in political and economic structures and processes.
The unstated or implicit intent of the article is to basically make the reader realize that understanding the operation of power and the various power sources is not adequate to understand political actions in the welfare field. It is imperative to understand that politics in this arena is a constant struggle over not just the agenda for policy debate but also the policies themselves and that the players, the rules & regulations and the resources are not prominent or readily noticeable.
Structure & methodology of the article
The introduction of the article, besides stating the rationale for the article, discusses important concepts pertaining to the governmental & political aspects of policy making. This provides for a familiarity with the political parlance and a theoretical understanding of the stance or thesis developed by the article. The article has five broad headings with several sub headings making the information in each paragraph precise and easy to access. It offers a great deal of varied examples for every concrete and abstract thought thus offering lucidity and comprehensibility. The author summarizes the main ideas following every discussion. The article also furnishes several cartoon or satirical picture illustrations, which convey a lot of unconventional social and political information. The conclusion is particularly interesting as it urges the reader to look at politics of welfare beyond the comprehensive level of the nation-state. In that sense, the conclusion delivers a sound research direction to the reader. The article provides links to further readings, useful websites and a few essay questions towards the end. It also gives a potent list of glossary which covers commonly used words such as rules and resources leaving no room for ambiguity.
Substance & Assessments of consistent and inconsistent arguments & tenability of arguments
The arguments in the article are supported by a comprehensive reference list. The article adopts a theoretical approach to initiate arguments or deliberations. The article makes a reference to the fundamental principles or theories stated by highly credible political scientists and academic scholars such as Esping-Andersen, T. H. Marshall, Hirschman, Merton, Stephen Lukes etcetera. In describing of processes or a sustained phenomenon or in the defining of socio- political events it observes legal changes and developments that have consequently taken place. An instance of this would be the depiction of the emergence of welfare innovations of the 20th century in which the article makes a reference to the consequent Wagner Act and the Social Security Act in the backdrop of the political thought and action of that period. The debates and lines of reasoning heavily rely upon the historical development of political events.
In explaining how power and authority operate, it uses many examples from the developments that took place in the European and US political and social structures. In doing so, it converges the different political ideologies of a particular period with the structure of the economy and the ideologies of the ruling governments in that period. In demonstrating the social policy arrangements assumed by various countries in EU, the article adopts a method of comparative analysis across different countries in conjunction with their incorporated political forces. The debates, in the article are drawn from a rational investigation of the existing beliefs or system of beliefs of that period as well the social setting of that region. Therefore, one can safely sat that the evidences presented in the article are well-founded and reinforced by several citations of scholarly nature.
Overall, the article is logically developed, while it is also arranged according to the temporal order.  Although at first it may seem that the article attempts to explain politics & power as a separate theme from welfare it then goes on to show that both are inextricably united and that welfare can only be seen in a socio- political context.  The article, in fact, also concludes on a note that at one must look at the higher levels of organization (that is, beyond the scope of natation states) in order to capture the full range of contemporary and future politics. This may also be seen as an indication, by the author, regarding the scope and limitation of the article. The article makes several accurate renditions in the context of welfare regimes and many such aspects, backed up by robust evidences. Besides, the author’s credibility can be reposed on his several publications in the area of social policy and his well-known associations in academia. The reviewer would rate the article as good because the article is engaging and successfully reaches its intended goal, leaving the reader, inspired to explore further in the area of welfare politics.