This article examines the extent to which the concept of social quality could contribute to a transformation in the debates about the welfare sustainability in Asia and Europe. The article starts by outlining the concept of social quality: its constitutional, conditional and normative components and the origins of its development as a European conceptual framework. Then a bridge is created between Europe and Asia by looking briefly at the similarities and differences between social quality and human security, a concept that is more familiar in the latter region than the former one. is is followed by a critique of the global discourses on 'sustainability' and, in particular, their dominance by economism. The final part of the article utilizes the concept of social quality to propose a more open and balanced approach to sustainability that brings in social and ecological considerations alongside economic ones. Some tentative suggestions are made concerning the operationalisation of a social quality approach to welfare system sustainability
Tom Hall and Robin Smith
This article considers welfare and the city and the ways in which pedestrian practices combine in the management and production of urban need and vulnerability as manifest in the experience and supervision of urban homelessness. The article combines writings on urban maintenance and repair with recent anthropological work on wayfaring (in which cities seldom figure). Fieldwork undertaken with rough sleepers, welfare workers and city managers in the city of Cardiff , Wales, provides the empirical basis. The main body of the article is organized around three walks through the centre of Cardiff with individuals variously implicated in care, repair and welfare in the city. In closing we assert the importance of a politics of street welfare in city space.
From Evidence to Explanations
After the Second World War, the view that people of every nation would be entitled to experience rising standards of living pervaded all corners of the globe. Convergence was seen as a positive way of achieving a Golden Age and a peaceful and affluent utopia, through modernisation and technical progress. Within this general belief, the development of national social welfare systems in Europe in the postwar period appears to be the outcome of autonomous national processes. The construction of Europe, which imposed common rules in many areas, was nonetheless consistent with the national development of social welfare systems within each national culture. The idea of a common system of social protection has always been linked to European political and economic construction, which was expected to create a more cohesive society. Reference is made constantly to convergence as a catching-up process in the comparative evaluation of national social policies, but the implementation of an ambitious European system of social protection and the creation of harmonised national welfare systems have always proved to be impossible. The paper focuses on two specific topics. Firstly, it examines attempts to quantify convergence among EU and OECD countries at the macro-economic level, using social indicators to assess the convergence or divergence of social expenditure. The evidence of convergence is shown to be ambiguous due to a number of methodological problems. Secondly, two main interpretations of convergence are examined: economic forces and legal frameworks. The paper shows that the analysis of national trajectories of social expenditure and the link with economic development can enrich the analysis of convergence or divergence in social protection. Even if the maturation or reform of national social policies explains the origins of increases in social expenditure, macro-economic pressures, or constraints (globalisation, Single Market), on public expenditure can fuel certain type of convergence. In all the developed countries, social welfare systems are based on national legal frameworks. A goal of social Europe is not only to work towards European solidarity but also to build common social rights throughout Europe. Convergence of national social welfare systems can, therefore, be interpreted as a component in a general process of convergence in law within the developed countries, especially within Europe. However, common explanations of convergence in social welfare systems often neglect elements of divergence. They, therefore, conceal the complexity of the process and very often underestimate the full extent of divergence.
Domestic Social Changes and the Impact of "Welfare Internationalism" in South Korea and Taiwan (1945–2012)
Won-Sub Kim and Shih-Jiunn Shi
The development of social policy in East Asia has been gaining momentum in recent decades, challenging scholars to offer an explanation. This article addresses two questions: Are we witnessing the rise of welfare states in East Asia? And if so, what are the driving forces behind this development? We draw on theoretical perspectives of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, who emphasizes the relationship between the state and civil society as the context of welfare statism, and who elaborated the role of international organizations and law in social policy ("welfare internationalism"). Choosing South Korea and Taiwan as examples, we explore the role of international policy diffusion, highlighting the interaction of international and domestic factors. We find that South Korea and Taiwan have indeed turned into welfare states, and that external "social" ideas, which have received little attention in previous research, have contributed to this development in different historical phases. Our analysis extends Kaufmann's perspective beyond Western welfare states.
Aki Siltaniemi and Marja-Liisa Kauppinen
The International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW), European Region, is, together with its academic partners, a member of the ENIQ Project. These academic bodies have developed and formulated the theory of social quality, together with appropriate indicators. The role of the ICSW differs from this because its purpose and basic mission is different. ICSW represents social NGOs and its mission is to advance social welfare, social justice and social development. The approach of the ICSW in this article is practical and clearly connected with social policy issues at an especially European level. However, a deep theoretical understanding of social quality and a successful choice of indicators are very important to the ICSW. After all, they do determine the usefulness of the image received through the concept of social quality in developing European welfare. The theory and indicators of social quality may also define which questions or problems will be primarily raised when discussing citizens’ welfare or its defects in European societies.
Theoretical Discussion and Policy Implications
The article discusses approaches to welfare under no-growth conditions and against the background of the growing significance of climate change as a socio-ecological issue. While most governments and scholars favor “green deal” solutions for tackling the climate crisis, a growing number of discussants are casting doubt on economic growth as the answer to it and have provided empirical evidence that the prospects for globally decoupling economic growth and carbon emissions are very low indeed. These doubts are supported by recent contributions on happiness, well-being and alternative measures of measuring prosperity, which indicate that individual and social welfare is by no means equivalent to GDP growth. If the requirements of prosperity and welfare go well beyond material sustenance, then approaches that aim to conceptualize welfare under the circumstances of a “stable state economy” become more relevant. A qualitatively different environmental and welfare policy governance network would need to integrate the redistribution of carbon emissions, work, time, income and wealth. Since social policies will be necessary to address the emerging inequalities and conflicts, this article considers the roles that the various “no-growth” approaches dedicate to social policy and welfare instruments.
Extending Social Quality into an Asian/Developmental Context
The concept of 'sustainable welfare society' is highlighted in the social quality analysis, an approach that was extended from a European into an Asian developmental context. is article will expose the basic meaning and conceptual framework used for an analysis of the sustainable welfare society. On this basis, it will examine the postwar Japanese experience of public policymaking and, furthermore, explore the implications of this approach by the analysis of Asian cases and of developing economies. Accordingly, the idea of realizing sustainable welfare societies is discussed in the background of Japanese social policies in reference to the European context of development.
Two Mayors, Two Welfare Regimes in Rural Hungary
Gyöngyi Schwarcz and Alexandra Szőke
This article examines the ways in which decentralized welfare provision is utilized by local state officials, particularly mayors, to (re)create local belonging along notions of deservingness. Comparing the organization of three forms of benefits in two villages, we demonstrate that local practices of welfare embody different state images that are created and negotiated both through the regulatory power of local state actors and through their various interactions and embeddedness in local social relations. Our empirical material highlights that the specificities of positions held by elected local officials and their accorded responsibilities, in addition to the position of their locality in the broader socio-spatial landscape of the country, are of great importance. All these largely influence the ways in which state images are formed and materialize in redistributive practice.
The article examines the welfare policy in Israel concerning 'minors at risk', mainly the cancellation of parents' custody over their offspring and their placement in welfare institutions. I suggest that the ideological discourse plays a major role in this context and terms like 'minor's well-being' are widely used for achieving public legitimacy of the social workers' control of this field. Describing and analysing case studies which I attended and followed since the beginning of the 1990s reveal the consequences of taking away children from their families and placing them in state institutions. The analysis focuses on the organised bureaucratic violence towards children and their parents which accompanies the legally enforced procedures. It also discusses the forceful means used by the staff in the institutions towards the inmates, as part of maintaining order and discipline. I suggest that violent behaviour of officials and organisations which use the state's organised power of coercion against minors and their parents is linked to personal, organisational and political motives.
Institutionalized Visions for a Good Life in Danish Day-care Centres
Using the case of early childcare institutions in contemporary Denmark, the aim of the article is to show that welfare entails visions of living that are made manifest through the requirements of everyday institutional practices. The main argument is that welfare institutions are designed not only to take care of people's basic needs but also to enable them to fare well in accordance with the dominant norms of society. This is particularly evident in the case of children. Children are objects of intense normative attention and are invested in as no other social group in order to ensure their enculturation. Therefore, studying the collective investments in children, for example by paying attention to the institutional arrangements set up for them, offers insight into dominant cultural priorities and hoped-for outcomes.