The Muffling Effect of Social Policy : A Comparison of Social Security Systems and their Conflict Potential in Australia, the United States and Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Department of Sociology 
The arena of social policy could be a constant battlefield were it not confined within political institutions. Conflicts are extended into the organisation of social programmes and extert pressure on policy objectives and the contents of the programmes. Social programmes can accomodate these pressures in different ways. During this process programmes become transformed, some to such an extendthat their social policy value diminishes and they serve other neeeds than those which they were designed to meet. This is the muffling effect of social policy. Ideally a social programme can be constructed with a low conflict potential. In this paper some basic characteristics of a low conflict system of social security are identified. Three different systems of social security are compared with regard to these characteristics and it is asked how conflict-ridden the different systems have been since they were first introduced. The model seems to have some predictive power. The methodological problems of such an approach are discussed.
PublisherInternational Sociological Association