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Nation state and welfare state: an intellectual and political history
Lutz Leisering*, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Sozialordnung (Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Germany) and Bundesarchiv (Federal Archive) (eds) Geschichte der Sozialpolitik in Deutschland seit 1945 [History of Social Policy in Germany Since 1945], Vol. 1: Grundlagen der Sozialpolitik [Foundations of Social Policy], EUR 81. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2001, xvi + 1227 pp., ISBN 3 7890 7314 8 (hbk)
The welfare state originated as a project of nation states, with roots in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Advances in social policy were often related to processes of nation-building, like the introduction of social insurance by Bismarck (1883–89) that followed German unification (1871). Critical periods in a country’s history that went along with a renewal of the national spirit also propelled social reform, like the New Deal during the Great Depression in the 1930s and the creation of the British ‘welfare state’ in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Today, there is a widespread feeling that the golden age of the welfare state, the decades after the Second World War, has passed. What, then, is a history of a national welfare state as presented in this volume good for in the contemporary debate? Is it just a nostalgic review of things gone by, irrelevant to the challenges of the 21st century? Or can we learn for the future? What could the ‘social’ mean in a global society? Great pieces of scholarship sometimes come
in disguise and this volume also delivers much more than one might expect from a handbook. Prima facie it is a book about one national model, the German welfare state from Bismarck to the present day, but it also locates Germany in the wider context of a comparative study of different national welfare traditions. Furthermore the book contrasts a democratic welfare state with a communist ‘welfare state’, namely the Federal Republic of Germany with the German Democratic Republic which resided side by side from 1949 to 1990. Finally, the book distinguishes welfare states from non-welfare states, through a systematic comparison between the USA and the Soviet Union on the one hand (proposed as non-welfare states) and European welfare states on the other. The whole work (11 volumes) is the most ambitious and comprehensive study of the history of German social policy ever published. The unique quality of the work derives not only from its broadscope, but also from its presentation of original studies which draw on previously inaccessible historical sources. The work was commissioned by Chancellor Kohl in 1994, and the government lifted confidentiality from many documents specifically for it. Various policies and periods, especially for East Germany (where a lot still needs to be done), are analysed in some detail for the first time. Volume 1, the book under review, provides a general framework for the more specific Volumes 2 to 11 that cover 17 fields of social policy chronologically (with each ‘volume’ comprising a book with historical analyses and an accompanying book with historical
* Author to whom correspondence should be sent: Lutz Leisering, Department of Sociology, University of Bielefeld, P.O. Box 100131, 33501, Bielefeld, Germany [e-mail: email@example.com]
Journal of European Social Policy 0958-9287 (200305)13:2 Copyright © 2003 SAGE Publications, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi, Vol 13 (2): 175–185; 032956
p. with an emphasis on Germany but yielding insights into basic questions of social policy and the welfare state beyond the German case. The diagnosis of separate spheres was developed in the 20th century by the sociologists . Kaufmann’s point – which sets the theme for the whole volume – is that the history of social policy is the history of the changing relationship between state and society and ensuing problems of social integration. was that ‘society’. have provided a legacy for the social policy community.176 Leisering documents). Franz-Xaver Kaufmann (sociology) writes on the history of ‘social policy’ in Germany as a political concept since the 19th century and a second article by Kaufmann provides an international comparison of welfare states (and some non-welfare states). 12). to become more prominent only after the Second World War. In Britain. ‘The political and the societal were depicted. Volume 1 is a self-contained study of the history and the theory of the welfare state. from diverse disciplines. Kaufmann argues that ‘social policy’ has emerged as a response to problems of societal integration which. Zacher (law) contributes a long chapter on the history of the German post-war welfare state and its normative foundations. Kaufmann’s first contribution opens the volume and traces the political history of the concept of social policy. free marketeers quarrel with advocates of social and ecological regulation of global markets. for the first time. Manfred G. politically integrated society – the Lockean ‘political society’ – into two heterogeneous spheres. Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) The distinction ‘state’ versus ‘society’ The history of social policy has been riddled with debates about individualism versus collectivism. ‘Social policy’ as a political and scholarly concept originated in Germany in the second half of the 19th century. past President of the Federal Archive of the Federal Republic of Germany. mainly the economy. was a source of uncontrollable tensions and social problems. While these are worldwide issues. producing seven articles. Michael Stolleis (legal history) presents an overview of social policy in Germany from the Middle Ages to 1945. Hegel. France and other countries it gained ascendance only after the 1970s. four such questions and themes are discussed: the distinction ‘state’ versus ‘society’. arose from a disjunction between ‘state’ and ‘society’. which is essential for a theoretical understanding of the welfare state. The book also includes 138 pages of references. and the variety of welfare states and methodological problems of comparative analysis. Germany. and Dierk Hoffmann (history) contribute an administrative history of social policy in the two Germanies from 1945–90. Schmidt (political science) analyses the German Democratic Republic (GDR) Friedrich Peter Kahlenberg. as two separate spheres dominated by different principles of law. the meaning of ‘the social’. the identification of welfare states compared to non-welfare states.1 The problem. following Montesquieu. diagnosed the disintegration of the ancient and early modern idea of a unitary. The unique quality of Volume 1 derives from its authors. In a final section conclusions are drawn regarding the future of national welfare states. The grand old men of German scholarship on social policy. In this review essay. and Hans F. has developed an intense political discourse on ‘the state’ and on the distinction between ‘state’ and ‘society’ that goes back to the early 19th century. with an emphasis on the years after 1871. Hans Günter Hockerts (history) tackles the issue of periodization. in Hegelian philosophy. five of them of book length (some of which will be published separately as such). as the Hegelians saw it. and related dichotomies. more than any other country. and a full list of the senior staff involved in the federal administration of social policy since 1949. sources as well as secondary analyses. the relationship between the two becoming the basic problem for ‘socialpolicy’ (Kaufmann. about state versus market. ‘state’ versus ‘society’ or ‘public’ versus ‘private’. In current controversies about ‘globalization’.
the term ‘(the) social’ is part of the German tradition. In their view. . During the 19th and 20th centuries the concept changed meaning several times. they referred to this requirement as the problem of ‘inclusion’. Marshall. The meaning of “the social” in contrast to the economic and the political . H. not classes. mirroring new challenges of societal integration and new ideas of ‘the social’. ‘The social’ Out of the three components of ‘democratic welfare capitalism’ – ‘the hyphenated society’ (Marshall. pp. 1982). 76). and the delivery and implementation of social services became a prime focus of social policy. ‘The social is part of the German identity in a special way. a lawyer and economist. Germans call their welfare state a ‘social state’. proposed a ‘compromise’ solution (which today could be termed ‘social-liberal’) which he called ‘socialpolicy’. Gradually. The focus of societal integration shifted (Kaufmann. 1978. social policy turned from a ‘workers policy’ into a growing. 616). Like the distinction between state and society. Social policy emerged as a concept in politics as a comprehensive ‘workers policy’ (Arbeiterpolitik) in a society divided by class. But no new concept of social policy emerged that could express the unity of society. though less ambitious redistributive policy for the whole population in an individualized society.Nation state and welfare state 177 Talcott Parsons and Niklas Luhmann under the name ‘structural’ or ‘functional’ ‘differentiation’ of society (Luhmann. namely the necessity of enabling persons to participate in functional systems. too. democracy and market. Drawing on T. p. Germany was a latecomer to industrialization and to nation-building but a pioneer of state welfare. p. Old age insurance. and especially after the Second World War. German liberalism was weak and ‘Manchester theory’ had eventually fallen into disrepute after the economic crisis of 1873 (Stolleis: p. diverse and contested. functional differentiation generated a problem. The formula ‘social state’ contained in the post-war German constitution has remained similarly indeterminate. 85–92): class politics gave way to welfare politics directed towards the welfare of individuals and individual social rights. a fusion of the societal and the political. Social policy was to link the societal and the political (through ‘social administration’) while preserving a basic autonomy of the societal (in modern terms: to intervene in the economy. etc. Nullmeier. This hints at problems of identifying ‘the social’: ‘the systemic character of social policy is much less evident than that of the market economy. The integrative formula ‘social market economy’ of post-war West Germany remained vague. In France. in a non-totalitarian way). has not been clarified till the present day’ (Kaufmann. . see Marx. Lorenz von Stein (1815–90). 1981) – the component ‘welfare (state)’ has remained much more contested than the other two. also a Hegelian. The distinction between ‘state’ and ‘society’ and the analysis of their precarious relationship has shaped the German tradition of thinking about the state and social policy ever since (Luhmann.’ (Zacher. was the intellectual father of the welfare state. While Marx proposed communism as a solution. Lorenz von Stein. first published in 1844). 231). turned into a question of relations between generations. Only in Germany the term has been loaded with deep normative and structural connotations. family. his contemporary. Bismarck’s social insurance was a means of integrating the new nation state and securing the support of the labouring classes. that is. for instance. notes the inferior legitimacy of social rights as compared to civil and political rights. the term ‘solidarity’ Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) . exactly 100 years before Beveridge (1842) and two years before Marx published his first concept of communism (not yet described as such. 1987). in a recent ambitious blueprint of a political theory of the welfare state (2000: 2). based on the same diagnosis of class conflict in industrial society as von Stein’s.
p. By contrast. The precise content of the welfare state. in the GDR. ‘Only state and society together can adequately promote the social’. 368). Zacher. Therefore. Christian-social and social-liberal positions thus appear not just as more or less consistent compromises between liberal. Schmidt’s (1998) and Obinger and Wagschal’s (1998) empirical analyses of the impact of political parties has shown that the German welfare state is more accurately characterized as ‘centrist’ rather than ‘conservative’. for example.178 Leisering has played a comparable role from the 19th century and still shapes present-day debates on social policy (Kaufmann. ‘Welfare state’ always means ‘welfare state in a free society’ (freiheitlicher Wohlfahrtsstaat. socialist and conservative thought when tracing the history of the idea of social policy. the liberal and the conservative regime. remarkably.. and its institutional implementation are less fixed than the content of political democracy and of the economic market. The great ideologies do not tell us a lot about questions of social development and institutional design in a complex and changing society. In his view. 674f. He challenges the social democratic orthodoxy of equating the social with ‘social’ intervention by the government. social policy cannot claim to represent unique ‘social’ values.). In Zacher’s view (p. for Christian Democracy and the welfare state see van Kersbergen. public and state processes’. Kaufmann pays scant attention to liberal. p. with the law enabling. “social policy” has evolved as a seemingly heterogeneous sequence of inconsistent compromises. that is. in his critique of Titmussian orthodoxy (Pinker.) the actual ability of the welfare state to impact on the welfare of individuals is mostly overrated. 1979). p. State provision is part of a wider welfare mix. similarly rejected the notion of a moral superiority of the ‘social market’ (Titmuss) over the economic market. Rather. 349) defines ‘the social’ through a ‘basic formula’ which posits work and family as the primary sources of providing for human needs. 2000). and even ‘state’ often means ‘intermediary’ agencies like social insurance (which in Germany are para-state agencies with separate budgets) or voluntary welfare associations. socialism and conservatism. p. Kaufmann’s alternative approach to comparative welfare state analysis shows that these labels are inadequate to distinguish between welfare states. In line with Kaufmann’s interpretation of social policy as an ideological compromise. Esping-Andersen has used these ideologies to label two of his three welfare regime types. The early doyen of German post-war social policy thinking. ‘the social’ and social policy are pluralistic concepts. 1971. In the British debate. with priority for ‘society’ (Zacher. 1995). . 8f. also objected to equating the social with the welfare state. securing and compensating for the operation of work and family. 368). a state in a mixed society in which ‘the social’ is not primarily promoted by the government. Social-democratic. Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) Zacher (p. by advocates and critics of the welfare state alike. 922f. a feature that was lacking. By contrast. Hans Achinger (1979). this analysis rests on the assumption that the history of social policy in Germany reflects an independent “reformist” strand which developed against the backdrop of the three “great ideologies” but has independent roots and points of view. The difficulty in specifying the meaning of social policy and ‘the social’ leads back to the compromise character and the historical changeability of social policy: ‘From the point of view of the great political doctrines of liberalism. But what appears to be a deficiency is in Zacher’s view the very essence of ‘the social’. socialist and conservative ideas but often as productive syntheses with new and independent perspectives’ (Kaufmann. Zacher (p. ‘the social’. The openness and changeability of ‘the social’ is an intrinsic feature of a welfare state in a free society. the term ‘the social’ is rarely used by Anglo-Saxon thinkers (for a recent exception see Chamberlayne and King. 365) also speaks of a ‘permanent intermingling of private. Robert Pinker.
the normative-institutionalist approach enables Kaufmann to show. In Kaufmann’s view. Cross-national comparisons which use the typological method. is too important to be left to custom or to informal arrangements and private understandings and is therefore a concern of government. 814f. Anglo-Saxon researchers easily classify the USA as welfare state or welfare capitalism because in their tradition of thought the specific role of the state may not receive as much attention as in Kaufmann’s approach. p.) of each welfare state (Castles. can muster some social services for privileged groups (mostly related to government or the military) but may lack a normative concern that defines a welfare state. In the burgeoning literature on welfare regimes and typologies. the variety of welfare states is exposed while avoiding a crude typology. p. In this way. Moreover. if used comparatively. p. as a set of social services (common in the Anglo-Saxon literature). then any country with a range of social services may appear as a welfare state. If ‘welfare state’ is defined in terms of outcomes. 863). . produces accounts of the ‘singularity’ (Eigensinn. It necessi- tates a new approach to the comparative study of nation states that emphasizes norms. 1992 are cited as kindred approaches). that not all modern nation states are welfare states. 817). culture and history. Some are just ‘capitalism’ – the USA – some are ‘socialism’ – the former Soviet Union – and others. 1993 and Ginsburg. highlighting the Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) . The departure of the 1960s was triggered by a moral or civil crisis.Nation state and welfare state 179 Varieties of modern society: welfare states and non-welfare states Kaufmann’s second major contribution to the volume questions the common assumption that every Western society is a welfare state. Kaufmann elaborates such a holistic and institutionalist approach which yields rich analyses of the gestalt of a welfare state and. based on meticulous secondary studies of the USA and the former Soviet Union. like some countries of the South (only hinted at). . the instability of the classification of countries (noted by many commentators with regard to Esping-Andersen’s original classification of 1990) indicates that the dimensions of comparison have been insufficiently theorized. 2000). Kaufmann distinguishes two aspects of the welfare state: the ‘welfare sector’ (as a range of social services or social institutions) and ‘welfare politics’ as patterns of political action based on welfare-related normative orientations. Kaufmann quotes affirmatively the definition by Harry Girvetz (1968: 512) which emphasizes law and normative orientations: ‘The welfare state is the institutional outcome of the assumption by a society of legal and therefore formal and explicit responsibility for the basic well-being of all of its members. tend not to specify what ‘welfare state’ means and therefore cannot distinguish between welfare states and nonwelfare states. the essentially West European welfare state appears as a third way between capitalism and socialism. In this light.’ This complex definition of ‘welfare state’ has methodological consequences. The USA has refused to join any international legal convention on social rights while the ‘compassionate conservatism’ recently espoused by the Republicans implies a thorough-going critique of the ‘entitlement revolution’ (Olasky. We can speak of a ‘welfare state’ only if social services are linked to normative orientations so that political actors assume a collective responsibility for the well-being of the entire population (Kaufmann. The war on poverty during the 1960s was ‘perhaps the only time in the history of the USA when a public and political majority opinion emerged with a belief in the possibility of shaping society through social policy’ (Kaufmann. most prominently EspingAndersen’s work. not by an economic crisis as in the case of the New Deal of the 1930s. Such a state emerges when a society or its decision-making groups become convinced that the welfare of the individual . In contrast.
and subject to ‘societal requirements’ even in the Constitution. There was a ‘great distance’ to all Western welfare regimes (Schmidt. However. This was true to the original doctrine of communism. but it was substantially qualified in practice. The ‘varieties of capitalism’ debate concentrates on the economy. during the last decade under Ulbricht (1961–71). Schmidt’s key thesis is that there was an unsustainable tension between the moderate economic performance and the high degree of social protection in the GDR. Rainer Lepsius remarked that the GDR in 1989 became ‘the first welfare state to collapse under the burden of its social services’ (see Mayer and Solga. . because ‘social policy’ assumes a distinction between ‘state’ and ‘society’ while communism involves a fusion of both spheres. Kaufmann also contributes to the more general debate on the ‘varieties of capitalism’ opened up by David Soskice and others (see Hall and Soskice. to housing and to protection in case of illness. ‘We grant social security and shelter. raising worker motivation and boosting birth rates. not for Lorenz von Stein. quoted by Schmidt. 2001). equal opportunities in education for all children of the people’ (Honecker in 1986. ‘All power serves the welfare of the people’ (Constitution of the German Democratic Republic. The GDR was more of a workfare state than the USA. The right to work. The sociologist M. But was it really a welfare state? Did the GDR positively grant social rights? Schmidt’s answer is ‘no’. benefits were increased irregularly by way of political discretion and the rights could not be claimed in court. ILO measure) and social services offered bare minimum standards or less. Social spending was low by international standards (around 15 percent of GDP. Social rights and social security were a means to underpin the claim of the GDR to be a genuine socialist nation and the better alternative to West Germany so that welfare state and nation state were closely linked. The GDR was not a welfare state as defined by Kaufmann because ‘the social’ was dominated by the political and the economic. Honecker (1971–89) made the ‘unity of economic policy and social policy’ a key Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) formula of social development with the aim of increasing consumption. with substantial legal privileges for state elites. 793). The East German leaders opted for Marx. when the Berlin Wall was erected. social security was used for economic purposes. 1994: 194). The status of the GDR as an independent nation state beside the West German Federal Republic was always contested. By including and identifying non-welfare states. In addition. As Hockerts indicates in his article on periodization. incapacity and old age was proclaimed.g. to education. Schmidt’s contribution aims to test the claim of the GDR’s superiority in ‘social’ terms. p. and the right to work was seen as the showpiece of the GDR. Article 24. with regard to old age pensions. although ‘the social’ remained subordinated to the economic. and discrimination against children from ‘bourgeois’ or religious backgrounds in the educational system. The welfare of the people was a major promise and source of legitimization. the concept ‘socialist social policy’ emerged. on industrial relations and the labour market while Kaufmann adds the fields of social security and personal social services and discusses them in conjunction with the economic fields. 692). However.180 Leisering ‘singularity’ of welfare states offers a stimulating new perspective. measured by the 50 percent income threshold). p. But the economy was too weak to carry that degree of ‘security and shelter’. social spending figures easily double. Article 4). The gap between rights and actual services was wide: the level of services was low (with an estimated 40 percent of pensioners living in poverty. e. social policy was not seen as a separate field of politics in the GDR until 1961. full employment. Political considerations were paramount. Schmidt’s study of the GDR puts the distinction between welfare states and nonwelfare states to the test. if we take into account the cost of subsidies to basic consumption goods and the cost of securing full employment through unproductive work.
France and Germany. But central planning. Values and normative patterns in a welfare state are specified accordingly. industrial relations. 779). but ‘institution’ refers not only to the institutional structure of the political system but also to the specific institutions of social services and related actors. was the overriding concept of society. Work was not seen as a social but as an economic issue – the Ministry of Labour was dismantled in 1958. For instance. His analyses yield ample new and fascinating insights into the cultural and institutional diversity of a continent which is moving towards political unity.g. individual and societal consumption were also seen to be amenable to planning’ (Schmidt. with more women in paid employment but still doing domestic work. with a focus on three themes: The relationship between ‘state’ and ‘society’ in a country. so they cannot identify balances and imbalances. p. A closed. indicating ‘package solutions’ (Kaufmann. p. the historical ‘state tradition’ (see also Dyson. The institutional structure of social services in a country. Kaufmann looks at three heterogeneous fields or spheres of social policy: production (labour law. The implicit formula of the GDR’s ‘social rights without civil and political rights’ did not work because social rights interlock with civil freedom and political participation. 1980) with regard to both institutional patterns (e. family and ‘private’ life. 181). (re-) distribution (income maintenance). that is. labour market policy). Kaufmann also provides analytical categories that can be used by students of comparative politics to move beyond the standard ways of comparing welfare states. This was not a welfare state. Even family policy was reduced to boosting birth rates. static notion of social needs prevailed: the level of benefits met prewar standards and provisions were not responsive to changing aspirations in the individualistic society that emerged in the 1980s. public administration. 815) rooted in history and culture. The guiding problem (Bezugsproblem) is assumed to influence both discourse and institutional practice in the long run. 814) that have proved viable Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) . 695). even in the GDR. These are elements of an institutionalist approach. The relationship between the fields indicates a specific profile of a welfare state. similarities and dissimilarities. • • • Varieties of the welfare state: the singularity of national ‘state traditions’ and welfare cultures Kaufmann analyses Britain. the traditional gender arrangement was little altered. what is defined [by political actors] as the guiding problem of social policy at the outset’ (Kaufmann. it was an ‘authoritarian socialist welfare and labour state’ (Schmidt. 815). between the three fields in one country. This was not an open and pluralistic concept of the social stipulated by Zacher as the core of a welfare state in a free society.2 The profile of a welfare state also reflects political problem definitions stemming from earlier times. p. p. benefits in kind). ‘Therefore. Most studies are confined to one or two of these fields or even parts thereof.Nation state and welfare state 181 Nor was the GDR a welfare state as defined by Zacher. Sweden. The problem definition prevalent in social politics: ‘As a key to understanding national paths of welfare state development we propose to inquire into how the “social question” is put. Kaufmann is interested in tracing incongruent normative patterns in different fields of social policy in one country. p. and reproduction (personal social services. p. labour exchanges even earlier (Kahlenberg and Hoffmann. not freedom. All country studies follow the same pattern. government. courts) and to ideas about the proper scope of government. Each country is portrayed as a singular case with an ‘independent cosmology’ (Kaufmann.
this weak notion of the state enabled Britain to develop a system of government with powers that are constitutionally less restricted than in Germany. strong local government. combines full egalitarian health services with a poverty approach to income security in old age. A modern interventionist state developed which never became detached from ‘society’ for a number of reasons. ‘In this way the concept of society was not depoliticized and did not receive the derogatory connotation which continental political thinkers often attached to ‘society’ as the epitome of particularistic. The British state tradition also includes a late professionalization and bureaucratization of the civil service and a liberal-utilitarian justification of state intervention that followed the logic of Benthamite rational collectivism. pragmatic rationalism. for example. The Swedish state–society tradition represents a third type. p. The nation as a cultural entity – rather than the state – and the idea of ‘solidarity’ constitute the social bond in society. The social question in the Swedish system has been inequality. ethnic homogeneity and the tradition of a unitary state church. but the evolving civil society never confronted the state as in Germany. British social policy has been oriented towards the problem of poverty. such as extensive participation of ‘societal’ interests through associations and political parties. In Britain. politically integrated ‘political society’. In the face of a weak liberal tradition. We can conclude that simple distinctions like strong versus weak state or big versus . France represents yet another singular type. Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) mostly economic private interests’ (the historian Gerhard Ritter. These four different problem definitions have clearly left their traces in the institutional design of each welfare state defining national welfare paths. There is a tradition of a strong central state and public administration but the unity of the country is projected onto ‘society’ as a whole. Paradoxically. In France the concern for family and population has been at the heart of social policy. was the pioneer (preceding even Prussia). Kaufmann’s analysis of national problem definitions is particularly illuminating. together with France. which gave rise to universal services. Sweden. In contrast. the tension between “state” and “society” is hardly relevant. This is one reason for the difficulty of classifying the British welfare state. ‘Similar to Britain. 238) typical of German social policy ever since. 895). p. an efficient public administration with relative independence of government. Germany is imbued with the distinction between ‘state’ and ‘society’. The original ‘social question’ that propelled social politics in Germany was the ‘question of the workers’. Stolleis specifies the influence of the German state tradition in the historical situation of German unification after 1871. ‘government’ (not ‘the state’) has been seen as the trustee of ‘civil society’. but for opposite reasons’ (Kaufmann. the social risks and needs of the industrial worker to which Bismarck’s social insurance was a response. While Britain was a latecomer to modern state bureaucracy. Germany: 1863/1869/1875) even though Britain was industrialized much earlier than Germany. Since the Glorious Revolution and John Locke. the distinction ‘state’ versus ‘society’ is not applicable because it is rooted in the Roman legal distinction between public and private law which is not part of British common law. p. The British labour movement was much more concerned with the idea of self-help than the German labour movement. The British welfare state. 872). that is. The relationship between state and society is ambivalent. notably by the early sociologists Comte and Durkheim. the legacy of the autocratic state and of the corporatist or ‘intermediary’ structures of early modernity produced a ‘mix of halfauthoritarian and autonomous structures’ (Stolleis. quoted by Kaufmann.182 Leisering political compromises. a unitary. a term that retained the old meaning of res publica. and it produced a political (Labour) party much later (1900. Regarding the state–society relationship.
The analytical categories. East Europe and Latin America ‘new [national] welfare states’ are said to materialize (Esping-Andersen. 1975). 1996). in terms of systems theory.g. The global social system may be seen as a ‘society’. 1997). and in East Asia. 2000).. For countries with a socialist legacy it may also be instructive to consult the analysis of the GDR found in the book. what kind of welfare state is it? How do new welfare states differ? Since the mid-1990s there is an ongoing debate about what kind of welfare regime new welfare states represent (e. ‘The German social state has never been simply a nation state’ (Zacher. The spreading of new welfare states can therefore be seen as a globalization of the welfare state. Transitional societies have turned out not to be just ‘emerging markets’ but also to be in need of institutionalized welfare provisions set up or regulated by government (e. for East Asia see Gough. the nation states. Pierson. whatever this may mean on a global scale? And what can we learn in this respect from the book under review? Several analyses have substantially qualified the widespread notion that economic globalization exerts a uniform and deleterious pressure on national welfare states. This applies in particular to Germany because the national identity and territorial extension was changing throughout the 20th century and because a country in the centre of Europe is open to migration and external influences. so it seems that national welfare states are here to stay for at least the foreseeable future. can help to specify questions such as: is country X a welfare state or not? If yes. In this view the nation state is not a counter model to. But at the global level there is no state to do the job: Meyer et al. New welfare states testify to the persistence of the model of organizing welfare at the national level. a political system of the world society (Meyer et al.Nation state and welfare state 183 small government do not capture the complexity of the state and its role in a given society. as an isomorphism of nation states that results from a diffusion of knowledge from ‘old’.g. 1997. 2001). Hort and Kuhnle. This complexity needs to be taken into account in order to understand the diversity of national paths of welfare state development in Europe. German citizens went abroad and the EU has assumed increasing Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) . What future for national welfare states? Will national welfare states soon become things of the past in a globalizing world? Or more generally. The global political system is differentiated in segments. p. will there still be a place for ‘the social’. criteria and methodologies from the book under review. 2000). but part of. 2000. then there is a problem in transplanting the concepts of social policy and welfare state to the global level. like a ‘race to the bottom’ or ‘social dumping’ (Alber and Standing. 616). especially from Kaufmann’s comparative contribution. 1994).g. welfare states originated as nation states.. ‘New welfare states’: This approach suggests that there is no world state but a world polity or. Stichweh. or ‘world society’ (Luhmann. but with the expansion of welfare states international ties have grown. In the case of a national ‘society’. (1997: 144) speak of the ‘statelessness of world society’. for East Asia see Holliday. 2001. a ‘worldwide institution’ (Meyer et al. There are two ways out of this situation: forms of ‘transnational’ social policy have emerged (see e. Foreigners moved in. de Swaan. western welfare states. ‘Transnational’ social policy: According to this argument. But what about global social policy? Can there be a welfare state beyond the level of nation states? If social policy has to be seen as a response to the differentiation of ‘state’ and ‘society’. the world society. Lorenz von Stein argued that such problems require social policy as an integrative force. which is subject to uncontrollable dynamics and poses problems of social integration. 2000).
Von der Arbeiterfrage zum Wohlfahrtsstaat. References Achinger. G. Journal of European Social Policy 5: 131–49. and market. (1995) ‘A Framework for the Comparative Study of Social Services’.or state-oriented conceptions of social policy. As a consequence Kasza rejects the concept of welfare ‘regimes’ altogether and calls for restricting comparative analyses to specific policy areas. The next 100 years of a formal institutionalization of ‘the social’ may bring less national and more transnational patterns but ‘the social’ does not appear to be in retreat. (1994) Social Policy Beyond Borders. with quarrels over collectivism and individualism. Nation states combine to set up transnational entities. but a new global level of social policy. Alber. J. were internationally proclaimed as human rights even before the expansion of national welfare states (Kaufmann. it comes in many varieties and there are other and more complex choices to be made than between more or less ‘state’. Dyson. G. 3) develops a theory of socio-political intervention that yields a distinction of four heterogeneous types of intervention akin to four policy fields. Biographies of Carers in Britain and the Two Germanies. F. or Convergence? Europe in a Comparative Global Context’. but they also establish genuinely global issues and procedures that cut across nation states. 3. Yet the core of the idea of the welfare state. (2000) Cultures of Welfare. J.1). de Swaan. and through international legal conventions and treaties. These global agencies communicate directly with ‘old’ and ‘new’ national welfare states. Similarly. (1980) The State Tradition in Western Europe. Kaufmann takes differences between policy fields to be part of the profile of a welfare state. Frankfurt: Eigenverlag des Deutschen Vereins für öffentliche und private Fürsorge. (2000) ‘Social Dumping. P. international organizations like the UN. Castles. 1973. . The message of the book under review is that ‘the social’ is a continuous subject of public deliberation. (ed. p. Journal of European Social Policy 10: 99–119. The General Declaration of Human Rights issued by the UN in 1948 also proclaimed social and cultural rights (see Kaufmann.184 Leisering powers in social security. In Zacher’s view the process of internationalization of welfare states flows from the open concept of ‘the social’. since the mid-1990s. Aldershot: Dartmouth. The Social Question in Transnational Perspectives. Kaufmann (2002: Ch. 2001. 3rd edn. A. through regional associations like the EU. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Kasza (2002) diagnoses ‘a disjointed set of welfare policies’ in most countries. K. Journal of European Social Policy 2003 13 (2) This book is a gem and I hope that some of its book-like articles will be translated into English. Bristol: Policy Press. A. For example. (1979) Sozialpolitik als Gesellschaftspolitik. It is constantly changing. H. As early as the 1940s Britain developed the vision of an international responsibility for welfare (‘welfare internationalism’) which even entered the UN Charter. especially Kaufmann’s comparative study. 819). World Bank and the ILO. Alber. In addition there are global NGOs. Ch. the ‘social’ is clearly an issue of debate. The Global agencies add up to a decentralized global network which does not constitute a state. Notes 1 German quotations have been translated by the reviewer. social rights. Patterns of Public Policy in Western Democraties. Chamberlayne.) (1993) Families of Nations. It is yet to be seen whether new aspects of a truly global concept of ‘the social’ will develop. the first truly global social policy discourse has emerged in the field of old age pensions. 2 Alber (1995) and Mayer (1997) analyse the question of homogeneity and heterogeneity of social policy fields as a methodological challenge for welfare state analysis. and King. Oxford: Robertson. Catch-up. Acknowledgement I thank Emma Carmel for smoothing my English. The global discourses currently seem to follow patterns which are familiar from national social policy discourses. But this conclusion is not necessary. and Standing.
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