Values and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective
Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Michael Opiekla and Birgit Pfau-Effinger
2. Liberalism, citizenship and the welfare state Julia S. O’Connor and Gillian Robinson Liberalism deﬁnes a variant of the welfare state as in the liberal welfare regime (Esping-Andersen, 1990) but has a much broader relevance to welfare state development. This chapter is based on the argument that aspects of liberalism have inﬂuenced the development of the welfare state irrespective of regime categorization. The negative inﬂuence of neoliberalism in restructuring welfare states since the 1980s has been widely identiﬁed and is discussed in this chapter but is situated within the context of a discussion of the key tenets of liberalism that still have, a sometimes positive, sometimes negative and often contradictory inﬂuence on western welfare states. The economic dimension of liberalism, with its emphasis on the primacy of the market, is one dimension of the conﬁguration of ideas embodied in liberalism that have relevance to welfare state analysis. This conﬁguration includes individualism, moral egalitarianism and universalism although the particular liberal denotation of these concepts has to be borne in mind and their implications for social policy examined in the context of the dual character of contemporary liberal democracies. The twin pillars of these societies are a capitalist economic system and a democratic political system. The central issue that must inform analysis of welfare states in such systems is the balance between these pillars and the extent to which inequalities associated with the market are modiﬁed through the democratic system. Citizenship rights are the...
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