"Explain And Discuss How The "Ideologies Of Welfare" Explored In This Module Can Be Used To Understand The Political Legitimation And Debate Within The UK Social Policy From 1979 To The Present Day".

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“Explain And Discuss How The “Ideologies Of Welfare” Explored In This Module Can Be Used To Understand The Political Legitimation And Debate Within The UK Social Policy From 1979 To The Present Day”.

“The Economic Shift In UK Social Policy Since The Era Of Thatcherism”

In this essay I aim to explain and discuss the ways in which ‘ideologies of welfare’ can be used to understand political legitimation and debate within UK social policy from 1979 to present day. I shall approach this question by initially offering an explanation of the concept of political legitimation and ideologies. Having expressed these definitions I shall move on to explain and discuss social policy surrounding the Conservatives party’s moves to ‘role back the welfare state’ during Mrs. Thatcher’s reign of the 1980’s. In order to express an ideology of welfare thoroughly, my writings shall scope the economic structure of the British welfare state and the social policies surrounding it. I shall draw upon political and welfare ideologies that support and counter policies surrounding economic distribution during the 1980’s. My writings shall also include reference to the changing political leaderships of the Conservative party from Margaret Thatcher to John Major in 1990 and the new labour government and leadership of Tony Blair in 1997, and their subsequent policies upon British economics in an attempt to offer a critique. I shall draw on the ideological influences of conservatism, old liberalism, new liberalism and socialism/Marxism, where applicable, to these policies and debates. To draw this essay to a close I shall summarise my writings and offer a conclusion.

What is political legitimation (also referred to as legitimate authority)? Unwin Hyman dictionary of sociology defines them as:

 “Any form of political rule, in which rulers successfully uphold a claim that they govern by right in accord with law, tradition or similar basis” (Jary, 1996, P363)

Legitimation, in itself is defined as the process in which a state or political system receive justification. The acceptances that political systems are justified suggest those attached to it have a moral obligation to obey them. The legitimacy of government, on the other hand, is based upon the consent of the governed, not on manipulation or coercion.

Ideologies are defined with two universally standing, yet inter-related terms, firstly ideologies are the systems of ideas that lie beneath and enlighten social and political actions and behaviour. Secondly, ideologies are defined as systems of ideas that justify or legitimate the inferior actions of one group by another. The works of Marx and Engel’s were particularly prominent in this view. Their works “the German ideology”, the notion of an ideology held two meanings, the first was that an ideology represented a picture of the world as seen through a ‘ruling class’. The second is that the ideologies of the ruling class are biased, and do not represent the interests of general humanity. These views are seen in Marx’s ‘dominant ideology thesis’. (Jary, 1996, P306)

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Mrs. Thatcher (1925 -) gained leadership of The Conservative Party in 1975; taking the Conservatives on to win the general election of 1979, which saw the beginning of the Conservative’s reign for eighteen years. Upon election, Mrs. Thatcher and her government vowed to reverse Britain's economic decline and to reduce the role of government (Jary, 1996, P685). A distinct shift emerged from traditional conservative thinking to what is now known as ‘Thatcherism’. Thatcherism refers to the political notions and indeed actions implemented by Mrs. Thatcher’s government. Drawing upon principles and reflections of the new right, specifically in regards to the ...

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3 Stars - This essay is thorough and well structured, and attempts to construct a logical and coherent analysis of the ideologies and their contribution to political legitimacy. The essay successfully defines different political ideologies without adequately relating it to actual policy and its effects. There is also little linkage and meaningful comparison of the different elements of the question.