The Relational Nordic Welfare State
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The Relational Nordic Welfare State

Between Utopia and Ideology

Edited by Sakari Hänninen, Kirsi-Marja Lehtelä and Paula Saikkonen

The success of the Nordic welfare state is well known, but the key drivers of its remarkable expansion are not. This book explores the relationships between citizens that constitute the normative groundwork of Nordic societies, arguing that the quality of relations steers welfare development.
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Chapter 6: Nordic welfare states, trust and the rights discourse: the history of the children’s day care system in Finland

Toomas Kotkas


According to Toomas Kotkas, the idea of Nordic social security and social welfare systems is a result of a practical moral-political discourse based on the idea that everyone must be included in society. From this perspective, society at large has been viewed as responsible for taking care of all its members. Since the 1990s, the human and individual rights discourse has gained strength in all Nordic countries. This has also had an impact on constitutional social rights. In some countries, such as Finland and Norway, new social rights provisions have been amended in the constitution. The article scrutinises how different dimensions of trust have manifested themselves in the history of children’s day care system in Finland and how the strengthened rights discourse has influenced in the emphasis of these dimensions.

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