Decentring Social Policy? Devolution and the Discipline of Social Policy: A Commentary

Williams, Charlotte and Mooney, Gerry (2008). Decentring Social Policy? Devolution and the Discipline of Social Policy: A Commentary. Journal of Social Policy, 37(3) pp. 489–507.



Constitutional change offers the opportunity for a major departure in the nature and direction of policy, practices and governance in social policy. This article explores some of the impacts devolution has for the discipline of social policy, suggesting that devolution matters for social policy as a field of research and study, and for the analysis and understanding of developments in UK social policy. It argues that devolution has a number of implications in terms of comparative and transnational social policy, new sites of analysis, the language of social policy, the production of knowledge and the development of new policy communities within the UK. It also signals new perspectives based on evolving welfare subjectivities and around questions of territorial justice. Drawing on discussions about the nature of social policy in the 1970s in particular, suggestions are made as to how new and emerging perspectives within and across the nations of the UK serve to 'decentre' the social policy tradition. In essence, this article seeks to open up a debate for 'theorising' the discipline of social policy through a focus on devolution.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions