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The transition of welfare state commitment : understanding the dynamics of contraction in state welfare

Författare:
Publiceringsår: 2001
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Working paper-serien
Volym: 2001
Nummer: 3
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag
Förlag: Lunds universitet : Socialhögskolan

Sammanfattning

In the 1990s a contraction in state welfare in Sweden has been on its way and still seems to be
so by joining forces. With focus on understanding the dynamics involved in the contractionprocess
this paper aims to discuss the transition of welfare state commitment in Sweden. On
the general level it should be seen as an attempt to adress the enigmatic and puzzeling
questions of: How to explain change in social policy? How to understand local differences in
the scope and directions of welfare programs?
Over the 1990s we have been witnessing a more sceptical attitude towards the provision of
state welfare. It has been argued that state welfare surpresses free choice and that budget
deficits and tax burdens have become obstacles to extensive public committments. Closely
linked to this (neo-liberal) thinking is the incentive-driven approach to the problems of public
welfare, grounded in neo-classical economic theory. Focusing on individual behavior in terms
of scrounging, dependancy, lack of responsibility and praise of market-solutions, the new
discourse has replaced the traditional socialdemocratic rethorics of autonomy, redistribution
and equality. The effect of this new focus is seen both in the general shifts of policy and in
research. However, in this paper we will take on another aspect of the transition of welfare
state commitment. The contraction process and the understanding of its dynamics, will lead
on to the arena of local priorities and adjustments. The empirical data referred to are primarely
data from ongoing research of local and organizational processes of adjustment and priority
setting in the area of elderly care in Sweden in the 1990s (Blomberg, Edebalk och Petersson
2000). Basically it is a comparative study of a strategic selection of eight Swedish
municipalities. Four of them characterized by extensive reorganization i.e. change in user
patterns of home help services and the other four, constituting a reference group, without
such changes. The approach is largely retrospective, concerning the years 1992-2000.
Interviews with local politicians, administrators, professionals and representatives of the
unions and of the elderly were the main sources of data.

Disputation

Nyckelord

  • Social Sciences

Övriga

Conference on Ageing, Care and Welfare of Elderly and how IT can improve Quality of Life”
2001-05- 07/10
Stockholm
Published
  • ISBN: 91-89604-07-5

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