Through the history of the short-lived 1947 radio show La Tribune de l’Invalide, this article examines how the social and political context of the Liberation offered disability activists a unique opportunity to demand pensions, medical care, and social services hitherto denied to them by the French state. Drawing on transcripts of the broadcasts and correspondence between listeners and the show’s host Maurice Didier, the article demonstrates how disability activists played a pivotal, if little acknowledged, role in the construction of the postwar welfare state by highlighting French society’s historic neglect of disabled civilians.
Social Rights and the Nationalization of Welfare in France, 1800-1947
Kristen Stromberg Childers
Timothy B. Smith, Creating the Welfare State in France, 1880-1940 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003).
Janet R. Horne, A Social Laboratory for Modern France: The Musée Social and the Rise of the Welfare State (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002).
Paul V. Dutton, Origins of the French Welfare State: The Struggle for Social Reform in France, 1914-1947 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).
A Comparative Analysis of Welfare States and Social Unrest
This article examines data from the Cross-National Time-Series Data Archive and the Comparative Welfare Entitlements Dataset on protest events, levels of welfare generosity (the extent to which welfare protection is provided by non-market actors), and welfare state regimes in 18 advanced industrialized countries across the period 1971–2002. Using a direct measure of protest events in terms of frequency of riots, demonstrations, general strikes, political assassinations, and attempted revolutions, the article finds that there is a significant relationship between welfare generosity, welfare state regimes, and protest events. The findings demonstrate that more extensive welfare arrangements—conceptualized through the use of empirical data—not only ameliorate social disadvantages and thus legitimate market economies and capital accumulation, but also bring about stability and social order.
On 24 July 2009, in reaction to a ruling by the European Court of
Justice regarding the different retirement ages for men and women
in the public employment sector, the Italian government introduced
further “subtractive” (or consolidating) reforms to the pension sector
(after the series of measures that were adopted starting in 1992), in
order to equilibrate the conditions of access to retirement between
the two sexes. At the same time, the saving in expenditure obtained
through pension reform was directed to the social assistance sector,
traditionally atrophied in Italy and even today very undeveloped in
comparative perspective. This is of particular interest in light of the
noteworthy, and anomalous, imbalance of the Italian welfare state to
the benefit of the retirement system for the protection of the el
Religious and Sociological Foundations of Social Policy Rationality
The article aims to contribute to the sociological theory of the welfare state by addressing a fundamental puzzle of social policy, namely, the weakness of its claim to be a rational effort of society dealing with problems of social integration. Drawing on the work of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, I distinguish between the cultural or ideational side of the welfare state and the social engineering or outcome side, arguing to take the rhetoric and symbolism of social policy more seriously. The integration of society is more due to the communicative action of social policy than to its organizational quality. As early as the axial age civilizations, symbolism and ideology emerged as an autonomous field of social conflict and societal union. Taking ancient Israel as an example, I argue that societal integration may take place even in the absence of strong institutional correlates of social politics. This can help to explain why the welfare state in modern society is compatible with ever-increasing economic and social inequality.
Participation and Spectacle
The events and sites of a national holiday (17 May in Bergen, Norway) are the grounds from which to draw out meanings of nationalism and tradition, and analyze ideologies of egalitarianism and individualism in a social democratic welfare state. My project has two aims: to open up and deconstruct aspects of the material and symbolic life of the city, and to engage an examination of patterns of local and national community life in relation to shifting evaluations of localism and nationalism within the a changing state formation. Bergen can be thought of as a case study of social order and control, with women, children, and reverence for home life, highlighted in the town’s celebrations. The symbolism of the day discovers community and state in a difficult relation between domestic communities and nationalist ideology in the maintenance of governmentality, a relation mediated by the city itself.
Three Remarks for Kindling a Debate
Social rights were to be the completion of the citizenship status of all members within a political community. Through a variety of causes (their entanglement with the goals of full employment and the welfare state, the complexities of the political project of the European Union, and conceptual confusion) the development of these rights has been arrested. The article sketches some of the origins of the present predicament of (social) rights and (social) citizenship. The article is informed by the hope that the arguments it puts forward may contribute to a renewed discussion on the necessity and promises of an EU form of citizenship that is worth instituting and emulating.
The Case of Greece
Konstantinos G. Kougias
Chronic deficiencies of the Greek welfare state and the introduction of austerity measures as part of the international financial bailout agreements have created an explosive cocktail of poverty and social exclusion that severely tested the resilience of the frail social safety net and the demands of equity. The score on the indicators of social quality has worsened considerably as the Greek welfare system was overhauled. This article examines the four conditional factors of social quality from the viewpoint of socio-economic policies and everyday experiences in Greece during the crisis.
The Establishment, Enforcement, and Transformation of the Moral Economy in Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation
William Booth's 'On the Idea of the Moral Economy' (1994) is a scathing critique of the economic historians labelled as 'moral economists', chief among them Karl Polanyi, whose The Great Transformation is the groundwork for much of the later theorizing on the subject. The most devastating of Booth's criticisms is the allegation that Polanyi's normative prescriptions have anti-democratic, Aristotelian and aristocratic undertones for being guided by a preconceived notion of 'the good'. This article presents an attempt to rescue Polanyi from this charge by reinterpreting his view of the relationship between the economic and the political, while elucidating the practical meaning of a moral economy.
Origins and Diversity
Today, "social policy" is an expression used across the globe to denote a broad range of issues, such as old age security, health, housing and so on. But historically, "social policy" had a distinct European origin and a distinct meaning. I maintain that "social policy" and the "welfare state" are more than a list of social services, and also have strong socio-cultural underpinnings that account for the diversity of social policy. The idea of "social policy" emerged in mid-nineteenth-century Germany against the backdrop of secularization and functional differentiation of modern society. I then pinpoint the twentieth-century move from "social policy" to the broader cultural idea of a universalistic "welfare state." The idea emerged internationally as early as the 1940s, even before the post-WWII rise of national welfare states, which, as I argue, differ according to national notions of "state" and "society." To this end, I compare the UK, Sweden, Germany, France, and two non-welfare states, the United States and the Soviet Union.