Repairing the Social Fabric of European Societies
Chapter 8: Fit for purpose? The architecture and processes of hybrid governance, and the overlapping of market, hierarchy and network
Social policies developed in the second half of the last century in Europe were accompanied by the consolidation of specific regulatory systems that led to the emergence of distinct welfare systems. Welfare governance is therefore a central defining element differentiating individual welfare systems in Europe. In recent decades hybridization processes within European welfare systems have become increasingly influential, impacting significantly on relationships between public, private and third sector actors responsible for the delivery of welfare measures and services. This has placed considerable pressure on traditional systems of regulation whilst also consolidating the dynamics of hybridization. Here, it may be argued that the emergence of these new experimental forms of policy making, and new governance logics is an important step towards the construction of a European social model. The European Commission (EC) has contributed to the development and orientation of policy innovations developed within individual Member States. In particular, the European Commission has precipitated the reduction of differences in the characteristics of welfare policies and measures between Member States by promoting an experimental approach to policy innovations whilst also stimulating governance approaches based on participatory processes at local level. The European Commission has promoted these new approaches to governance and policy making under the auspices of the Open Method of Coordination. This chapter explores the role of hybrid governance and experimental, participatory approaches to policy innovations within distinct welfare systems and the implications of these approaches for the development of a more coherent European Social Model.
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