Beyond Welfare State Models

Beyond Welfare State Models

Transnational Historical Perspectives on Social Policy

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Pauli Kettunen and Klaus Petersen

Welfare state models have for decades been the gold standard of welfare state research. Beyond Welfare State Models escapes the straitjacket of conventional welfare state models and challenges the existing literature in two ways. Firstly the contributors argue that the standard typologies have omitted important aspects of welfare state development. Secondly, the work develops and underlines the importance of a more fluid transnational conceptualisation. As this book shows, welfare states are not created in national isolation but are heavily influenced by transnational economic, political and cultural interdependencies. The authors illustrate these important points of criticism with their studies on the transnational history of social policy, religion and the welfare state, Nordic cooperation within the fields of social policy and marriage law, and the transnational contexts of national family policies.

Chapter 8: What is Nordic in the Nordic gender model

Kari Melby, Anna-Birte Ravn, Bente Rosenbeck and Christina Carlsson Wetterberg

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


? Kari Melby, Anna-Birte Ravn, Bente Rosenbeck and Christina Carlsson Wetterberg Gender equality – in the sense of formal equal rights – achieved increasing political support in the Nordic countries during the nineteenth century, when these countries underwent changes that dissolved patriarchal structures. Towards the end of the century, women’s citizenship was discussed in relation to legal changes concerning family and heredity. The claim for equality between men and women was introduced when the women’s organizations were established in the 1870s and 1880s. Different views on women’s rights certainly existed, but there was less principal resistance to the need for the emancipation and independence of women than in many other European countries (Melby et al. 2006a). Around 1920, women had obtained formal equal rights with men. In this chapter we discuss the meanings of these rights, focusing on the Nordic marriage reforms of the early twentieth century and arguing that these reforms represented a specific Nordic – as opposed to English or German – regulation of relations between women and the nation-state, a regulation that combined individualism with state intervention (Bradley 2000; Åmark 2001). In a comparative European perspective, we can clearly see the contours of a specific Nordic marriage model that was characterized by a scientific understanding of the formation of marriage, extensive liberalization of divorce, and economic equality between the sexes. In the Nordic countries, marriage was regulated as a modern, secular social institution. Even if there were differences between the Nordic countries – a more far-reaching liberalization of divorce in the west, more...

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