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Session Overview
RN32_06b_P: Transformations of European Welfare States I
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Hans-Joerg Trenz, University of Copenhagen
Location: PD.2.34
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: D, Level: 2.

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From Care of the State to the Care of the Self: A Foucauldian Perspective on the Relations Between Neo-Liberalism and Welfare States

ayca berna gormez

middle east technical university, Turkey

The demise of the welfare states is mostly associated with the rise of neo-liberalism; through which the functions of the states are reduced to minimum in order to cut down on the government expenditures and enhance the market and its flourishing. However, it cannot be explained only through economic processes; these provide only one dimension of the demise of the welfare states and also neo-liberalism in general. A greater picture can be proposed; it can also be considered as part of a greater process. This process is about transformation of the rationality. It is a rationality that liberalism itself is based on. From this perspective, both liberalism and neo-liberalism can be recognized as "art of government"; as Foucault puts its, they are about governmentality. So in this paper, the demise of the welfare states will be analyzed in relation to the rationality of government, governmentality. Governmentality refers both to control and management by the state and also it refers to the self-control, management of household, or care of the self. Through governmental logic, the state has not lost its function; rather its withdrawal becomes one of a technique of government. In this paper, the transition from care of the state to care of the self will be analyzed in a sense; the logic behind it and the apparatuses through which it occurs will be explained from a Foucauldian perspective.

Policy citizenship. The impacts of neoliberalism and supranationalization on democratic linkages in Western democracies

Claire Dupuy1, Virginie Van Ingelgom2

1Sciences Po Grenoble; 2F.R.S. - FNRS & Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium

Across Western Europe since the 1970s, welfare states have been under considerable pressures. Over the mid-term, two main challenges surface. First, the trend toward neoliberal social policy, however varied in its shape and scope, has come to characterize most policy changes of the period. It has impacted levels of generosity, eligibility criteria, welfare providers as well as the process of benefit allocation. Second, the growing supranationalization of welfare states, by way of budget consolidation objectives and enforcement mechanisms and monetary integration, has greatly influenced, that is, reduced, Western European governments’ ability to act upon welfare states’ design and reforms.

This paper takes stock of these developments from a ordinary citizens’ perspective. It departs from the mainstream policy elite perspective and the political economy analysis as the paper focuses on citizens’ political perceptions and experiences of both trends. It intends to theoretically lay out an analysis of the political outcomes of neoliberalism and supranationalization of European welfare states. Based on the policy feedback literature, that hypothesizes that attitudes and behaviours are outcomes of past policy, the paper suggests that both neoliberalism and supranationalization of social policy may contribute to explaining patterns of citizens’ (dis-)affection towards politics in the past decades. The paper therefore investigates policy citizenship, that is how neoliberalisation and supranationalization of social policy shape attitudinal and behavioural democratic linkages (political trust, political support, loyalty, formal and informal participation). By doing so, it supplements existing research on individual determinants and contextual explanations of disengagement and disaffection towards politics.

European solidarity in times of crisis: towards differentiated integration

Hans-Joerg Trenz

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The principle of European solidarity, which was originally conceived as one of the founding values of the European Union and as a motor for social cohesion, is currently redefined. European solidarity has become one of the most contested claims in public debates turning it into a mobilization force for intellectuals, political actors and citizens’ movements. By providing an analytical framework for the analysis of such solidarity contestation in times of crises, we argue that a new politics of differentiated solidarity in the EU can be distinguished, which is different from the old politics of European identity. In line with and as a consequence of the intensified argument in favour of differentiated integration, differentiated solidarity entails a shift of emphasis from the promotion of European integration aiming to establish a reciprocal relationship among equals to the promotion of flexible arrangements among EU members, discretionary redistributive mechanisms and hegemony. More specifically, during the Eurocrisis years, the following three mutations in the concept of EU solidarity can be observed: a) the exceptionality of charity: solidarity as acts of benevolence towards thirds; b) the exclusivity of egalitarian solidarity: national solidarity communities becoming more exclusive; 3) solidarity among non-equals: constant renegotiation of the costs and benefits of solidarity as a rescuing mechanism, which binds donating and receiving countries together in a situation of emergency.

Entrepreneur as a citizen-subject of the remodeling of welfare state

Miikka Pyykkönen

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Many current governmental policies indicate that Nordic countries are moving away from their traditional state-led welfare models towards lighter versions of welfare states. This new version is sometimes referred as ‘competitiveness state’ or ‘entrepreneurial state’. The ideal labor-subject of the lighter welfare state is entrepreneur. However, currently entrepreneur has been also labeled as an ideal citizen-subject in the discourses of this remodeling. This means that it is not just the figure of business making entrepreneur, which the programs and strategies for the remodeling of welfare state are promoting, but that all the citizens should be more entrepreneurial and adapt to the ethos of ‘internal entrepreneurship’. Whereas the policy documents create discursive rationality for this new citizen-subject, education, creative sector initiatives and new economic platforms, such as entrepreneurial cooperatives and sharing economy, form the medium through which entrepreneurial ethos is made accessible and desirable to people. This paper pays also attention to the affective dimension of entrepreneurship and talks about how this promotion of entrepreneurship translates into subjective action in different kinds of entrepreneurial self-practices. I claim that the emerging discourses and practices of entrepreneurship are reflecting new modes of power and the hegemonization of new political and economic ideology, with its discourses, practices and subjectivities. In this situation, entrepreneurship can be seen as an intersectional subjectivity in which political rationalities and interests, educational conduct, new forms of economy and production and the wills and desires of an individual merge in a novel way.

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