Advanced

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

Petersson, Jan LU and Blomberg, Staffan LU (2001) Conference on Ageing, Care and Welfare of Elderly and how IT can improve Quality of Life” In Working paper-serien 2001(3).
Abstract
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... (More)
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. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
Working paper-serien
volume
2001
issue
3
publisher
Lunds universitet : Socialhögskolan
conference name
Conference on Ageing, Care and Welfare of Elderly and how IT can improve Quality of Life”
ISBN
91-89604-07-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d93ed877-e664-4361-9b3e-255d102c97e0 (old id 531713)
alternative location
http://www.soch.lu.se/images/Socialhogskolan/WP2001_3.pdf
date added to LUP
2007-09-24 15:27:46
date last changed
2016-04-16 08:23:41
@inproceedings{d93ed877-e664-4361-9b3e-255d102c97e0,
  abstract     = {In the 1990s a contraction in state welfare in Sweden has been on its way and still seems to be<br/><br>
so by joining forces. With focus on understanding the dynamics involved in the contractionprocess<br/><br>
this paper aims to discuss the transition of welfare state commitment in Sweden. On<br/><br>
the general level it should be seen as an attempt to adress the enigmatic and puzzeling<br/><br>
questions of: How to explain change in social policy? How to understand local differences in<br/><br>
the scope and directions of welfare programs?<br/><br>
Over the 1990s we have been witnessing a more sceptical attitude towards the provision of<br/><br>
state welfare. It has been argued that state welfare surpresses free choice and that budget<br/><br>
deficits and tax burdens have become obstacles to extensive public committments. Closely<br/><br>
linked to this (neo-liberal) thinking is the incentive-driven approach to the problems of public<br/><br>
welfare, grounded in neo-classical economic theory. Focusing on individual behavior in terms<br/><br>
of scrounging, dependancy, lack of responsibility and praise of market-solutions, the new<br/><br>
discourse has replaced the traditional socialdemocratic rethorics of autonomy, redistribution<br/><br>
and equality. The effect of this new focus is seen both in the general shifts of policy and in<br/><br>
research. However, in this paper we will take on another aspect of the transition of welfare<br/><br>
state commitment. The contraction process and the understanding of its dynamics, will lead<br/><br>
on to the arena of local priorities and adjustments. The empirical data referred to are primarely<br/><br>
data from ongoing research of local and organizational processes of adjustment and priority<br/><br>
setting in the area of elderly care in Sweden in the 1990s (Blomberg, Edebalk och Petersson<br/><br>
2000). Basically it is a comparative study of a strategic selection of eight Swedish<br/><br>
municipalities. Four of them characterized by extensive reorganization i.e. change in user<br/><br>
patterns of home help services and the other four, constituting a reference group, without<br/><br>
such changes. The approach is largely retrospective, concerning the years 1992-2000.<br/><br>
Interviews with local politicians, administrators, professionals and representatives of the<br/><br>
unions and of the elderly were the main sources of data.},
  author       = {Petersson, Jan and Blomberg, Staffan},
  booktitle    = {Working paper-serien},
  isbn         = {91-89604-07-5},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  publisher    = {Lunds universitet : Socialhögskolan},
  title        = {The transition of welfare state commitment : understanding the dynamics of contraction in state welfare},
  volume       = {2001},
  year         = {2001},
}