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Welfare after Growth

Theoretical Discussion and Policy Implications

Max Koch

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.

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Alan Walker

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

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Welfare and Self Care

Institutionalized Visions for a Good Life in Danish Day-care Centres

Eva Gulløv

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.

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‘The Good Citizen’

Balancing Moral Possibilities in Everyday Life between Sensation, Symptom and Healthcare Seeking

Sara Marie Hebsgaard Offersen, Peter Vedsted and Rikke Sand Andersen

possibilities for interpretations and actions regarding the body, health and illness. Most prominently, these possibilities include concerns about the common good of the Danish welfare state, which may legitimate decisions in either direction in the question of

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An Anthropology of Welfare

Journeying towards the Good Life

Susanne Langer and Susanne Højlund

This issue of Anthropology in Action is dedicated to the study of welfare – understood as a social, culturally specific and long-term process of transformation – from an anthropological perspective. But is a study of ‘welfare’ still relevant and is it an appropriate concept to study what counts as a ‘good life’ well-lived? Has comprehensive publicly funded welfare still a role to play, or have collective welfare arrangements and institutions not been replaced by individuals’ personal quests for well-being?

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Frida Hastrup and Marianne Elisabeth Lien

What do natural resource frontiers look like when configured within the highly regulated systems of wealth redistribution, welfare provisions, and environmental governance that characterize the Nordic states? This is the overarching question that we

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Protest Events, Welfare Generosity, and Welfare State Regimes

A Comparative Analysis of Welfare States and Social Unrest

David Pritchard

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.

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The Logic of Welfare

Religious and Sociological Foundations of Social Policy Rationality

Elmar Rieger

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.

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Ton Korver

Why would eligible people decline an offer of welfare services? In regard to this question and in the context of changes in the welfare state, this paper discusses the shift 'from entitlements to provisions'. After sketching the size of non-take-up and the social composition of those declining the offer of services, some tentative reasons or motives for non-take-up are presented. The discussion is derived from various approaches including the capability approach, Dahrendorf's approach of the “modern social conflict”, and social quality theory (SQT). These approaches are placed in the perspective of the “person,” as in the group/grid scheme developed by anthropologist Mary Douglas. The paper concludes that, in order to understand the phenomenon of non-take-up, a differentiated conception of the person, for which SQT is a prime inspiration, is a condition sine qua non.

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Neoliberalism and Welfare Chauvinism in Germany

An Examination of Survey Evidence

Marko Grdešić

Anti-immigration sentiments can take on a variety of forms, but a particularly prevalent version across Europe is welfare chauvinism. According to welfare chauvinism, the services of the welfare state should be provided only to natives and not to immigrants. Like many other European countries, German politics also features welfare chauvinism, and not only on the far right segment of the political spectrum. What drives welfare chauvinism? Most studies of welfare chauvinism try to assess whether economic or cultural factors matter most. In an attempt to bridge these perspectives, this article brings in neoliberalism. An examination of survey results from EBRD’s Life in Transition project suggests that neoliberal economic attitudes are a key determinant of welfare chauvinism. German respondents who have neoliberal economic views tend to see immigrants as a drain on the welfare state, while those who have economically leftist views tend to see immigrants as providing a positive contribution.