The Changing Institutionalization of Social Services in England and Wales, France and Germany: Is the Welfare State on the Retreat?
Title: The Changing Institutionalization of Social Services in England and Wales, France and Germany: Is the Welfare State on the Retreat?
Author: BAHLE, Thomas
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Citation: Journal of European Social Policy, 2003, 13, 1, 5-20
This article analyses the institutionalization of social services in England and Wales, France and Germany in comparative perspective. The focus is on recent changes that include large elements of privatization (in particular in England and Wales) and decentralization (mainly in France). These developments are often regarded as indications of a retreat of the welfare state from the area of social services. The article, however, supports an alternative interpretation that sees behind these developments an attempt by the welfare state to establish more integrated and socially controlled systems of social services. Variations between countries are explained partly by variations in their institutional heritage and partly by country-specific sociopolitical constellations and institutional innovations. The analysis combines the concept of welfare mix with a comparative-historical perspective. This approach offers an alternative to the dominant broad theories of welfare regimes that are less adequate for studying institutional change.
Subject: comparative institutional analysis; social services; welfare state; Western Europe
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