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Southern Welfare States: Configuration of the Welfare Balance between State and the Family


Since the mid-nineties, following the publication of Esping-Andersen's seminal book, " The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism " (Esping-Andersen 1990), a discussion has developed about the hypothesis of a fourth welfare regime: a Southern European one, i.e. a common model shared by Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Some authors argued that common traits justify the existence of a Southern or Mediterranean ideal-type beside the continental, liberal and universalist ones, while others considered the Southern configuration as a late development of a continental regime, possibly with some historical, institutional and cultural specificities (Katrougalos 1996). After having reached its acme in the nineties, this discussion was rediscovered recently, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the publication of Andersen's crucial and inspiring book. Looking back, it seems as if this debate arose only due to the discussion related to Esping-Andersen's model; a discussion which, in the end, seems weakly connected to the broader literature on the historical making of Southern Europe. However, unquestionably, the historical context of this scientific debate has changed drastically in the last three decades. In this paper, we propose, in the first section, to come back and synthesize the main arguments of this debate since the nineties and argue that this discussion is crucial, not only for academic or theoretical concerns, of course, but also to think of the present of Europe and offer a guide for understanding the general process of restructuring European welfare states. In the second part, we focus on one of the characteristics of Southern configuration underlined in the nineties: the central role of the family as a source of protection against risks and vulnerability, or a social bumper. The question nowadays is not only the transfer of responsibility for social problems from the state, or even local authorities, to the family in a shedding process but the careful investigation of, first, the transformation of the family itself in the meantime and also of the emergence of new social risks which are challenging caring capacities of our societies.
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halshs-01179541 , version 1 (22-07-2015)


  • HAL Id : halshs-01179541 , version 1


Claude Martin. Southern Welfare States: Configuration of the Welfare Balance between State and the Family. Campus. Southern Europe? Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece from the 1950s until the present day, pp.77-100, 2015. ⟨halshs-01179541⟩
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