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Moral economies of the welfare state: A qualitative comparative study

Taylor-Gooby, Peter, Hvinden, Bjørn, Mau, Steffen, Schoyen, Mi Ah, Gyory, Adrienn (2019) Moral economies of the welfare state: A qualitative comparative study. Acta Sociologica, 62 (2). pp. 119-134. ISSN 0001-6993. (doi:10.1177/0001699318774835) (KAR id:66706)

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This paper uses innovative democratic forums carried out in Germany, Norway and the UK to examine people’s ideas about welfare state priorities and future prospects. We use a moral economy framework in the context of regime differences and the move towards neo-liberalism across Europe. Broadly speaking, attitudes reflect regime differences: a distinctive emphasis on reciprocity and the value of work in Germany, on inclusion and equality in Norway and on individual responsibility and the work-ethic in the UK. Neo-liberal market-centred ideas appear to have made little headway in regard to popular attitudes, except in the already liberal-leaning UK. There is also a striking assumption by UK participants that welfare is threatened externally by immigrants who take jobs from established workers and internally by the work-shy who undermine the work-ethic. A key role of the welfare state is repressive rather than enabling: to protect against threats to well-being rather than provide benefits for citizens. UK participants also anticipate major decline in state provision. In all three countries there is strong support for continuing and expanding social investment policies, but for different reasons: to enable contribution in Germany, to promote equality and mobility in Norway and to facilitate self-responsibility in the UK.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0001699318774835
Uncontrolled keywords: Attitudes; welfare state; future; Europe; democratic forum; moral economy; neo-liberalism
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Peter Taylor-Gooby
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2018 13:39 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Taylor-Gooby, Peter:
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