Introduction. Ambivalences of the Rising Welfare Service State – Hopes and Hazard of Modern Welfare Architectures

Jean-Michel Bonvin, Hans-Uwe Otto, Arne Wohlfarth, Holger Ziegler


The Welfare states in Europe are changing. Traditional strategies of welfare which are based on income-replacing compensation for market failures, existential threats and standard biographical problems become more and more replaced by so-called social investment strategies, focusing on preventive policies, personalised interventions and social investments in the human capital of their beneficiaries. In particular, service-based welfare measures are becoming the core of modern welfare architectures: The Welfare Service State rises.

This new welfare architecture is accompanied by a significant recalibration of the cognitive and normative orientations about what welfare policy should achieve as well as far-reaching reforms of the governance of social services. In 24 contributions, participants of the Symposium Ambivalences of the Rising Welfare Service State approach the task of making this new type of welfare state accessible to analyses and scrutinies.

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