Table of Contents

Culture and Welfare State

Culture and Welfare State

Values and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective

Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Michael Opiekla and Birgit Pfau-Effinger

Culture and Welfare State provides comparative studies on the interplay between cultural factors and welfare policies. Starting with an analysis of the historical and cultural foundations of Western European welfare states, reflected in the competing ideologies of liberalism, conservatism and socialism, the book goes on to compare the Western European welfare model to those in North America, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. Comprehensive and engaging, this volume examines not only the relationships between cultural change and welfare restructuring, taking empirical evidence from policy reforms in contemporary Europe, but also the popular legitimacy of welfare, focusing particularly on the underlying values, beliefs and attitudes of people in European countries.

Chapter 11: Unsettled Attachments: National Identity, Citizenship and Welfare

John Clarke and Janet Fink

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states

Extract

John Clarke and Janet Fink National identity and citizenship have become increasingly visible and contentious issues in recent years as established alignments of people, places and policies have become unsettled. In this chapter, we explore some of the ways in which a cultural analysis can illuminate these processes in relation to the politics and policies of welfare. We begin by discussing the problems and possibilities associated with foregrounding questions of culture. We then examine how questions of citizenship and national identity have been bound up with the formations of welfare, state and nation associated with the ‘golden age’ of the welfare state and nation state (Huber and Stephens, 2001; Leibfried and Zürn, 2005). The destabilization of these formations has made the relationship between national identity, citizenship and welfare appear more fragile and contested. We consider how contemporary processes – including new transnational flows of people – have contributed to this unsettling. Finally, we consider whether such contemporary unsettling might make us rethink the assumed unity of people, places and policies in older formations of nation, state and welfare. In this we share Sharma and Gupta’s aspiration that ‘new insights might be gained from treating states as cultural artifacts while simultaneously framing them in transnational dynamics’ (2006: 5–6). THE (RE-)DISCOVERY OF CULTURE Culture has been a marginal or residual concept in the social sciences, particularly in those disciplines that have laid claim to analysing welfare states – economics, political science and social policy. A concern with the ‘hard’ analytics of structural...

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