Term Paper: Sociology - Welfare Hard of Hearing People

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Sociology - Welfare

Hard of hearing people represent a special segment in the society we live in. They are a disadvantaged group of people who due to the fact that they suffer from a health situation are faced with discriminatory behavior and lack the opportunities normal people have.

There have been several attempts made concerning the possible treatment of hard of hearing people and those with different disabilities inside the society because it is important that even the less fortunate have an equal chance for development in life. However, such policies relate in a definite way to the health care system of the country under discussion or of the region under analysis. At the same time, there are certain theories related to the issue of health care and in particular to the treatment of those with disabilities which try to set a straight set of guidelines for a possible solution to the problems people with disabilities have. In this sense, Esping- Andersen and Titmuss created a theoretical framework which can ensure not necessarily a viable solution but more a series of considerations and practices that would be useful for framing the best policy towards people with disabilities and hard of hearing people in particular.

The theories of Esping- Andersen and Titmuss will be used to analyze the way in which Germany responded to the challenges imposed by people with disabilities and hard of hearing. The period under analysis will be 1996-2006.

One of the most important theories of Esping- Anderson tries to focus on the model of the Capitalist Welfare State. More precisely, "In his research, Esping-Andersen groups countries under three models of the capitalist welfare state: The Liberal Regime Model, the Social Democratic Regime Model and the Corporatist Regime Model." More precisely as stated by the author in general he considers that states can be called "welfare states" when "it involves state responsibility for securing some basic modicum of welfare for its citizens." Therefore, from this point-of-view, Esping-Andersen's classification is based on the way in which the state is able to provide its people with some basic needs for survival and for a decent way of life inside the society.

The social aspect of the society is crucial particularly from the point-of-view of a European state such as Germany because it offers unity and cohesion to the other policies undergone at the level of the European Community as well as at the level of the state. From this point-of-view it is clear that "all of these models share a constitutive core - namely, the fundamental conviction that social rights, social compensation and social security are legitimate needs. In this view, equality and solidarity are seen as central values of the European cultural region, and the "social" is one of the central essences of that which is European." Therefore, there is a difference between states such as the United States which decide their social policy independent of any external factor, and the states of the European Union which must take into account the regulations at the European level as well.

Concerning the theoretical base Esping-Andersen proposes for the analysis of the social policies n different types of state, this is related to the way in which the respective state tends to view social security and in general its relation to the public. More precisely, there is a clear distinction made between socialist states or welfare states and liberal states. In this sense, the former was born as a result of social struggles and thus as an adaptation to the social pressures of the people; the latter on the other hand, was created as a result of self choice. Esping-Andersen argues that "to ensure that the cash nexus would remain the pivotal basis of distribution, liberal reformers preferred private insurance, company fringe benefits, and friendly societies or, where a public commitment was unavoidable, actuarially sound, voluntary social insurance." Therefore, the difference comes in terms of approaches and means of achieving social policy and social inclusion. Under this theory, people with disabilities are also part of the social policy framework.

Richard Titmuss' theory on social policy goes further that Esping-Andersen's but in a parallel manner. More precisely, he argues that in fact social administration as the entire array of measures and institutions should cater for the needs of those disadvantaged in the manner as to ensure their full inclusion in the society. Moreover, he supports the idea that in order to achieve public welfare, it is important that a more equal distribution of resources be ensured by the public administration. His beliefs represented important guidelines for center and left parties which followed them and tried to establish a more social system of policies. Therefore, it is fair to say that Titmuss advocated a new sense of social equality that would benefit those less advantaged by the society and by an eventual liberal policy.

Germany is a rather important case study because it represents the approach of the conservative corporatist policy. Given its historical background it can be said that Germany has had a troubled social life which included constant pressures from different groups of the society which determined the state to take measures that would rehabilitate rather than offer benefits. In this sense, the state prefers to assist its citizens rather than to encourage them.

There are four guiding principles concerning the protection of the people with disabilities which have come across several obstacles especially at the moment of the reunification of Germany in 1990. In this sense, it is considered by the German state that the integration of the people with disabilities is of crucial need for the society. Similar to the provisions of the European Union which underline the need for equal chances, Germany's aim is to include the persons with disabilities in the society in such a manner as to ensure their well-being. From this point-of-view, Germany falls in Esping-Andersen's theory of the welfare state.

The second principle of the finality of the assistance takes into account the fact that people should be assisted in their need regardless of the sector of policy which provides this assistance. Moreover, this assistance must be granted without considering the causes of their disabilities or the funds used to do so.

Third, the German state focuses on the need to intervene as soon as possible in order to both reduce the costs of later intervention and to insure the adequate protection. This is an interesting point because it addresses Titmuss' concern related to the fact that a strong social policy can in the end have negative effects on the overall budget. More precisely, he notes in 1968 that a social policy and administration that would cater entirely for the needs of the disadvantaged individuals would imperil the equilibrium of the society and in the end it could prove ineffective because those who do not have the means would have to face up the costs. Therefore, Germany's approach takes this matter into consideration.

Forth, the principle of individual assistance points out the fact that the assistance provided must be suited to the needs of each individual in a sense that help must be provided according to the particular situation of the disadvantaged persons, and not as a general policy aimed at solving all issues under concern.

The aspect of the treatment of people with disabilities is very important for the way in which a certain segment of the social policy tends to develop. As stated by the European Commission, "different approaches to disability determination are, therefore, deeply embedded in national institutions." Therefore, the delimitation between different systems of social security and in the end between various means to approach the issue of people with disabilities relies in whether the state provides assisted help thus centralized funding or offers incentives, thus devolved.

The four principles presented above are visible in the way in which Germany decided to deal with the assistance of those with disabilities. In this sense, on the one hand, the persons with disabilities have the right to choose between actual care and the value of the care in money. Most of the times, however, people tend to chose the financial perspective of care simply because the money can either be redirected or used to acquire different care support. In any case, the state ensured that people are offered the chance to reintegrate in the society and at the same time enabled them to benefit from other sources as well, should the income per family be too low to support special needs assistance. Even so, these funds come from the social security fund, and are not particularly designed for those with disabilities.

The need to address the issue of persons with disabilities is seen from the way in which such people have come to be treated by the society. In this sense, at the beginning of the 1990s there was a great sense that a discriminatory policy was being conducted at the level of most western states. From this point-of-view, some have argued… [END OF PREVIEW]

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