Paul Spicker:
Open Access Material

The links on this page are to those books, reports and papers, written by Paul Spicker, which are now available freely on the web. Most are in PDF format, but there are also some ebooks, and some are on web pages.


Four of Paul Spicker's books in English are now available for download without charge, under a Creative Commons licence. They are available both in PDF and EPUB (ebook) formats. A fifth book is available from CROP, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty.

Stigma and social welfare

Originally published by Croom Helm, 1984

Cover of Stigma and social welfare, 1984Download PDF
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"This intelligent ... book demonstrates that many of the preconceptions of social scientists about stigma are ill-founded, and goes on to assess practical policies designed to cope with the problem." (Peter Taylor-Gooby)

"excellent study ... an interesting contribution to the sociology of social welfare" (Bryan S. Turner)

Principles of social welfare: an introduction to thinking about the welfare state

Originally published by Routledge, 1988

Cover of Principles of social welfare, 1988Download PDF
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"Enlightening analysis ... Spicker's critique encourages us to re-examine our beliefs and assumptions about the welfare state" (Bill Jordan)

"A concise and valuable introduction to philosophical thinking about the welfare state" (Philosophy Today).

"The book raises searching questions ... a useful tool for anyone who teaches or tries to practise the analysis of social welfare." (Social Work)

Poverty and social security: concepts and principles

Originally published by Routledge, 1993

Cover of Poverty and social security, 1993Download PDF
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"The discussion is balanced and generally insightful, and provides a good introduction to readers who are new to the field." (Contemporary Sociology)

"An entertaining and sometimes controversial examination" (Tony Fitzpatrick)

The welfare state: a general theory

Originally published by Sage, 2000

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"This is an audacious book ... The attempt to lay out of the propositions of welfare in their barest form, and demonstrate their relations, is novel and challenging. It is the kind of book we may value as much for the disagreements it provokes as the answers it offers." (C Clark, in the British Journal of Social Work).

"an excellent attempt at a coherent general theory of the welfare state and a good undergraduate primer on social policy. ... he has achieved something rather important ... . in an accessible manner that will attract and retain readers at all levels." (P King, in Housing Studies)

Poverty: an international glossary

Paul Spicker, Sonia Alvarez Leguizamon, David Gordon (eds) published by Zed Books, 2007; .

Cover of Poverty: An international glossary, 2007Download PDF, available from CROP, the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty

"An indispensable guide ... Spicker's final chapter is a masterly review of the subject." (David Donnison)

International open-access editions

Cover of Pobreza: un glosario internacional, 2010Poverty: an international glossary is available in a Spanish edition at Paul Spicker, Sonia Alvarez Leguizamón y David Gordon [editores] Pobreza: Un glosario internacional, Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (Buenos Aires) 2010.

Cover of Polityka spoleczna -Teoria, 2014Cover of Polityka spoleczna - praktyka, 2014Social Policy: Theory and Practice is available in a Polish edition, in two parts: Polityka społeczna - teoria, and Polityka społeczna - praktyka, both published by Centrum Rozwoju Zasobów Ludzkich (Warszawa) 2014.

Principles of Social Welfare: Arabic editionPrinciples of Social Welfare is available in an Arabic edition from the Democratic Arabic Center for Strategic, Political and Economic Studies (Germany), 2017.


The Robert Gordon University’s Open Access Institutional Repository, OpenAir, has made several published academic papers available in pre-print versions. (It’s thanks to them that this page is now here.) Some other papers are available on open access because the journal or the publisher has put them on the web.



Social administration

Applied social theory

Health and social care


Several of these pieces were originally published by Shelter, or by Roof, Shelter's magazine. Shelter have asked me to stress that they were written some time ago and do not necessarily reflect Shelter's current policies.

Social Policy as an academic discipline

Further Readings in social policy, by a wide range of authors, are available on the website. The readings have been selected to complement Social Policy: Theory and Practice.