The Future of the Welfare State

The Future of the Welfare State

Social Policy Attitudes and Social Capital in Europe

Edited by Heikki Ervasti, Jørgen Goul Andersen, Torben Fridberg and Kristen Ringdal

At a time when welfare states in Europe are coming under increasing pressure from both growing demand and, in some countries, severe financial austerity measures, the attitudes of ordinary people and European social cohesion are much debated. Using data from the European Social Survey, these empirical analyses examine welfare state attitudes and draw conclusions for the future. Theoretically the book is linked to analyses of altering social risks, policy challenges, policy changes and policy performance of the European welfare states. The analyses in the book explore a variety of individual and macro-level determinants of welfare policy attitudes ranging from socio-economic factors to religiosity, but a special emphasis is laid on solidarity, social cohesion and social capital among European nations.

Chapter 2: Welfare Regimes and Personal Risks

Synøve Nygaard Andersen and Kristen Ringdal

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states


Synøve Nygaard Andersen and Kristen Ringdal INTRODUCTION Providing its citizens with coverage from current social risks lies at the very core of the European welfare state (Esping-Andersen, 1999). Profound and complex changes in the economy and the labour market due to globalization, rising educational levels, the change in demographic composition and changing gender roles have severely altered the risk structure that the post-war welfare state was designed to cope with, creating ‘new social risks’ (see, for example, Esping-Andersen, 1999; Taylor-Gooby, 2004; Bonoli, 2007). The ‘success rate’ in adapting to and providing citizens with coverage from these new challenges, which include precarious employment, underqualification, long-term unemployment, being one of the working poor, family dissolution, poverty amongst lone parents, problems in maintaining the work–family balance and a polarization between ethnical minority and majority, has differed significantly between the different welfare regimes of Europe (Bonoli, 2007). In this chapter we look further into the extent to which people consider themselves as being exposed to some of the central social risks of our time. In our analyses we also wish to keep a focus on the interrelationship between social risks and social inequality – a connection surprisingly unexplored in scientific research (Taylor-Gooby and Zinn, 2006). Parallel to the aforementioned changes in the structure or composition of risks and the need for welfare state adaptations, we have seen fundamental changes in the discourses surrounding risk, risk management and risk responsibility. Firstly, the unpredictable, unavoidable and uncontrollable side effects of technological development and rapid social...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information