Chapter 6: Bottom-up pressures, institutional hurdles and political concerns: the long path towards an eco-welfare state in Italy
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The notion of 'sustainable welfare state' is highly contested. Building on the systematic analysis of relevant legislation, official documents by the government, social and political actors' publications, as well as interviews with key informants, in this chapter we clarify how Italian political and social actors conceptualize sustainability and the related notion of 'eco welfare state'. Secondly, we analyze the main political parties and interest groups' proposals aimed at building a social protection system that may protect the environment. Finally, we highlight the main obstacles along the path towards integrated economic, social and environmental sustainability. Our results show that awareness has significantly grown in the last five years, along with contrasting 'conceptualizations' of sustainability among social and political élites. Moreover, our in-depth reconstruction reveals that relevant political, economic and institutional obstacles have so far prevented sound actions towards the construction of a more sustainable welfare state.