The Changing Welfare State in Europe

The Changing Welfare State in Europe

The Implications for Democracy

Edited by David G. Mayes and Anna Michalski

The welfare state in Europe has been reformed gradually over the past two decades, with the intensification of the economic and monetary union and the addition of fifteen new members to the EU. This book explores the pressures that have been placed on the welfare state through a variety of insightful and thought-provoking contributions.

Chapter 5: Democratic boundaries in the US and Europe: inequality, localization and voluntarism in social welfare

Tess Altman and David G. Mayes

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


Recent global changes have had a pronounced effect on the nature of social welfare. Ageing populations, increased immigration and mobility, changes in technology and communication, increased inequality, voluntarism and decentralization all create new conditions and new risks. Most advanced industrial countries have experienced changes in the nature of the welfare state. There has been a general shift away from the state as the sole provider of welfare and an interest in other kinds of welfare providers and forms of governance, as exemplified in the ëdisorganized welfare mixí (see Altman and Shore, chapter 6 for a discussion of this term). Civil society and private actors have become more central to welfare provision. For some, such changes constitute a radical ëcrisis of the welfare stateí (Jessop, 1999), while others claim that changes are regime-specific. Either way, such changes raise questions about how social welfare is being reformed and reshaped, and what the implications of such reforms might be for conceptions of democracy and citizenship. Our aim in this chapter is to examine three of these trends which have emerged in recent years and are contributing to important changes in the way both social welfare and democratic decision making over its form and content interact.

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