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Major New Series Explores Social Policy and Development

1 Dec 2004



The long-awaited groundbreaking UNRISD series on social policy and development is about to be launched. It is the intellectual output of a group of nine research endeavours carried out under the Social Policy in a Development Context project that mobilized researchers in many countries for over four years. The cluster of projects and the resulting books collectively explore one of the greatest challenges of our time—that is the building of a state-society nexus that is developmental, democratic and socially inclusive. The project and series place social policy at the centre of research while maintaining UNRISD’s historic multidisciplinary approach to social development, aiming at building a bridge between economic development and social policy, which has become a key element of debates in all contemporary societies and particularly those undergoing reform and transition today.

The series comprises both thematic volumes (gender, commercialisation of health care, poverty, and democratisation) and region-centred volumes (East Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa and the Nordic Countries). The first volume in the series, “Social Policy in a Development Context”, edited by UNRISD’s Director, Thandika Mkandawire, has just seen the light of day. The second,Transforming the Developmental Welfare State in East Asia” is due out in December and is edited by UNRISD Research Co-ordinator Huck-ju Kwon. A third volume is to follow in January, and series’ events are planned throughout 2005, starting with a launch event to be announced soon on this Web site. The series is widely expected to become one of the Institute’s hallmarks and will be actively disseminated to UNRISD’s core audiences of academics, students, policy makers, NGOs and civil society representatives, not to mention the media.

The series provides a very timely and exciting contribution to the literature on economic development and social policy. It is designed to contribute to informing policy debates at all levels, national and international, as well as within the UN system itself. The series comes out at a time when large numbers of countries are consolidating their fledgling democracies and policy making in developing countries has shifted towards issues of social and economic development, poverty eradication and equity.

The first book sets the stage; its message is that social policy must be placed at the vanguard of development, reform and transition. It signals the nascence of a much needed major rethinking on the importance that social policy should be allowed to assume in development. In sum, the book argues that social policy must be conceived as a major policy instrument for development.

The 10 books result from research carried out in no fewer than nine subprojects. The first volume sets out policy issues and examines major research questions that will be addressed throughout the series. The following volumes will be divided along two distinct strands: thematic and region-centred comparative research.

Region-Centred projects

· Transforming the Developmental Welfare State in East Asia
· Latin America: A New Developmental Welfare State in the Making?
· Sub-Saharan Africa and the Challenge of Social Policy
· Social Policy and Economic Development in the Middle East and North Africa
· Social Policy and Development in the Nordic Countries

Thematic Projects

· Gender and Social Policy
· Commercialization of Health Care: Global and Local Dynamics and Policy Responses
· Pro-Poor Macroeconomics and Social Policy
· Democratization and Social Policy

The series will include the following volumes:

· Social Policy in a Development Context, Thandika Mkandawire Ed.

· Transforming the Developmental Welfare State in East Asia, Huck-ju Kwon Ed.

· Latin America, A New Developmental Welfare State in the Making, Manuel Riesco Ed.

· Social Policy and Economic Development in the Nordic Countries, Olli Kangas and Joakim Palme Eds.

· Commercialization of Health Care: Global and Local Dynamics and Policy Responses, Maureen Mackintosh and Meri Koivusalo Eds.

· Social Policy and Economic Development in the Middle East and North Africa, Massoud Karshenas and Valentine Moghadam Eds.

· Gender and Social Policy in a Development Context, Shahra Razavi Ed.

· Pro-poor Macroeconomics and Social Policy, Andrea Cornia Ed.

· Democratization and Social Policy, Yusuf Bangura Ed.

· Sub-Saharan Africa and the Challenge of Social Policy, Jimi Adesina Ed.


The series is published with the UK-based publishers Palgrave Macmillan.

Nicolas Bovay