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This fully revised, updated, and extended edition of a bestselling social policy textbook lays out the architecture of social policy as a field of study, combining theoretical discussions with discussions of social policy in practice. Paul Spicker provides readers with a sense of the scope, range, and purpose of social policy studies and helps foster a critical awareness of the problems that can beset it. He explains what social policy is and why it matters, looks at policy in a social context, considers the role of the state and social services in the larger public, and explores issues in administration and service delivery, all while surveying various methods and approaches to social policy studies. This third edition is the only general book on social policy written to meet the needs of an international readership.