[Book review]: The Settlement House Movement Revisited: A Transnational History By: John Gal, Stefan Köngeter and Sarah Vicary, 2021. Bristol, Policy Press, 2021. ISBN: 978-1447354239; £60.00 (Pbk)

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewpeer-review


Gal et al. assemble a timely contribution charting the transnational history of the settlement house movement, bringing together a rich body of evidence to support place-based approaches to policymaking and poverty alleviation. In their introduction the authors explain how that the settlement house, "translated the Christina idea of welfare into the social constellation of modern industrial capitalism, made visible and analysed social issues in a scientific way, propagated social reforms and finally strengthened the idea dealing with these social issues within the national state". In a series of papers, they shed light on some less explored aspects of the movement, that combined aspects of “research, reform and residence" from the establishment of Toynbee Hall in London, charting their diversification "into several modes operating in distinctive social, cultural and national settings across the world. Highlighting the often feminist qualities of the movement led by reformers such as Jane Addams, the publication makes clear the association of the settlement houses with “the continuous application of knowledge in favour of the people who are affected by the disruptive development s of industrialisation and urbanism". The book shares vignettes of the infrastructure which empowered the movement to jointly propagate social reform (across often incompatible ideological settings), through bedding down with the poor. "Residence required the immersion of residents in the harsh context of their neighbours and it was the foundation for the development of the settlement theory".
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
Early online date25 Jan 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2022


  • the Settlement House Movement
  • transational history
  • John Gal
  • Stefan Köngeter
  • Sarah Vicary
  • book review

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