Juridification and Social Citizenship in the Welfare State
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Juridification and Social Citizenship in the Welfare State

Edited by Henriette Sinding Aasen, Siri Gloppen, Anne-Mette Magnussen and Even Nilssen

The concept of juridification refers to a diverse set of processes involving shifts towards more detailed legal regulation, regulations of new areas, and conflicts and problems increasingly being framed in legal and rights-oriented terms. This timely book questions the impact international and national regulations have upon vulnerable groups (the unemployed, patients, prisoners, immigrants, and others) in terms of inclusion, exclusion and social citizenship. Focusing on European welfare states, as well as lessons from Latin America, it considers the implementation of the right to health and the role of international courts. This book brings empirical analysis and multidisciplinary, comparative perspectives to the previously fragmented and largely theoretical debate on juridification in the welfare state.
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Chapter 2: Activation policies and proceduralization of law in Britain, Denmark and Norway

Even Nilssen


The constitution of the modern welfare state has entailed a change in the role of law in society. Social law has become a significant political instrument for obtaining social goals. The welfare state has been associated with processes such as bureaucratization, professionalization and materialization of public law (Habermas 1996; Teubner 1986). In many countries, people have gained various types of individual social rights such as old age, unemployment and disability benefits, education, social assistance and health care, although the structure and scale of social rights vary significantly between types of welfare states (see Esping-Andersen 1990; Magnussen and Nilssen 2013). The welfare state has traditionally been understood as a regulating and redistributional state, oriented toward correcting the dysfunctional effects of the market economy (Nilssen and Kildal 2009). In the mid 1990s, however, Europe was experiencing an acute crisis, with high unemployment rates, adverse demographic conditions, transformations of household structures and external threats such as intensified international competition (Lopez-Santana 2006, p._481). Most European countries questioned the sustainability of their welfare states under such conditions. In general, this has caused a closer connection between social policy, employment policy and general economic policy (Ervik et al. 2009). Social policy has become strongly attached to labor market policy (Nilssen and Kildal 2009). In this chapter, I pursue these legal–institutional changes in three European countries: Britain, Denmark and Norway. These countries have different traditions in the field of active labor market policy and belong to different welfare regimes (social democratic and liberal welfare regimes; Esping-Andersen 1990).

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