Reclaiming Individualism

Perspectives on Public Policy

Paul Spicker

Reclaiming Individualism

Paul Spicker

Distributed for Bristol University Press

208 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $120.00 ISBN: 9781447309086 Published May 2013 For sale in North and South America only
Reclaiming Individualism reviews the scope of individualist approaches to public policy, considering how they shape contemporary policy practices. It argues for a concept of individualism based on rights, human dignity, shared interests, and social protection, providing a thorough analysis and classification of individualism as applied to social and public policy. An important resource for those working or studying in these fields, it is a powerful restatement of some of the key values that led to the establishment of individualism as such a strong social force.
List of tables and figures
About the author
Introduction: Six impossible things before breakfast

Part One: Individualism
1.1 Individualism
    Moral individualism
    Methodological individualism
    Substantive individualism
1.2 Individualism and collectivism
    Individual and collective discourses
Part Two: The moral dimensions of individualism
2.1 Individual value and individual rights
    Dignity, respect and rights
    Individual rights
    The equality of persons
2.2. Autonomy and self-determination
2.3 Personal responsibility
    Reward and punishment
    Individualism and moral judgments
2.4 Possessive individualism
2.5 Individual welfare
    Individualism and individual welfare
Part Three: Methodological individualism and rational self-interest
3.1 Utility and choice
    Preference and choice
    Choice and well-being
3.2 Self-interest
    Incentives and motivation
3.3 Rationality
    Indifference curves
    The maximisation of utility
    Some methodological problems
3.4 The Pareto principle
    The problem in inequality
Part Four: Substantive policy
4.1 Choice and the market
    How markets reconcile choices
    The limits to markets
    Market failure
4.2 More of the market: one solution for everything
    Structural adjustment
    The price mechanism
    Rationing by price
4.3 Personalised services
    Personalised approaches
    Personalisation in practice
4.4 The individualisation of social policy
Part Five: Individuals and collective action
5.1 Individual and social choices
5.2 Collective action
    Collective action and the individual
    The tragedy of the commons
5.3 Solidarity and voluntary collective action
    Social protection
    Redistribution and solidarity
5.4 Public services
    Non-market failure
    Public services and the individual
Part Six: Government and public policy
6.1 The individual versus the state
    The minimal state
    The liberal state
6.2 The role of government
    The welfare state
6.3 The moral agenda
   Translating moral purposes into practice
    The objections to government action
6.4 Social policy and the individual
    Reclaiming individualism: individualist public policies

Index of names
Review Quotes
Rod Hick, Cardiff University | Journal of Social Policy
"A book with much relevance for students and scholars of social and public policy and, indeed, for anyone who wishes to understand more about the dominant paradigms of public policy."
Citizen’s Income Newsletter 2015
“A most thorough exploration of a wide variety of issues related to ‘the individual’ as an idea in social policy discussion.”
David Hirst, University of Bangor

“A useful exploration of the differing approaches within the individualist tradition, bringing together discussion of the whole field of individualistic thought and public policy.”

Michael Moran, University of Manchester

"Reclaiming individualism is fantastically interesting. It raids an enormous range from across disciplines, and is the product of some very hard thinking and some provocative analysis."

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