“Relations of extraction”: Some issues for social policy

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In response to Gurminder Bhambra's lecture and article, this paper explores some implications for research and teaching in social policy. Taking an imperial, rather than national, lens to welfare state origins highlights that the extraction of people, their labour, skills, and experience, was crucial to the post-war welfare state. This challenges us to think more critically about the boundaries of redistribution, reciprocity, and reparation, and to go beyond the nation state to the analysis of global systems of inequality and access to resources, and their historical roots. There are also challenges to our conceptual frames and assumptions in social policy, including the way in which the constructions and experiences of race are analysed, which has been shown to be a gap in social policy scholarship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022


  • empire
  • nation
  • race
  • social policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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