Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-rn2sj Total loading time: 0.277 Render date: 2022-08-18T17:18:13.514Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

fifteen - Conclusion: policy change, welfare regimes and active citizenship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2022

Get access

Summary

In the 1990s, there was a widespread belief in the inertia of the welfare state. In contrast, we now observe quite far-reaching changes in welfare policies, and several possible directions seem to be open for tomorrow's welfare states. In brief, we are in the midst of a thoroughgoing reform of welfare systems. Welfare policies are changing in response to new challenges, new actors and changing power relations. We also face new discourses about welfare that are disseminated across the rich welfare states.

Current conceptualisations and explanations of welfare state change are not always very helpful for analysing these often quite ambiguous changes. In the first place, explanations of changes have tended to focus too much on the problems of cost containment or competitiveness, failing to acknowledge other sources of change. Secondly, they have seen change too one-sidedly as a matter of retrenchment and failed to recognise that current changes also involve the expansion of social rights. Furthermore, the criteria used to assess change depend too much on the welfare state architecture that developed in the second half of the 20th century; in particular, they usually focus too narrowly on the state versus the market dichotomy, and too much on cash transfers rather than services. Finally, analyses of change often put too much emphasis on formal institutions and too little on outcomes.

Although analyses and interpretations along these lines have provided valuable insights, we must find a new vantage point for looking at the reforms under way and devise new standards of measurement for assessing current reforms and their eventual effects. In this book, we have suggested as a starting point for this analysis a broader notion of societal change; we have suggested assessing welfare reforms mainly from an outcome perspective and we have suggested focusing on the effects of such reforms on citizenship – while acknowledging at the same time that citizenship itself is being redefined.

Challenges and change: beyond retrenchment

During the 1990s, following Pierson's (1994) pioneering work, welfare state reform was mainly seen in terms of retrenchment. This view highlighted economic pressures as the major cause of change and provided extremely valuable insights into the politics of blame avoidance.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Changing Face of Welfare
Consequences and Outcomes from a Citizenship Perspective
, pp. 257 - 272
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2005

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×