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European Foundations of the Welfare State

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European Foundations of the Welfare State

Franz-Xaver Kaufmann
Translated from the German by John Veit-Wilson
Foreword by Anthony B. Atkinson, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

400 pages, 3 figures, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-476-8 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (June 2012)

ISBN  978-1-78238-687-2 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (December 2014)

eISBN 978-0-85745-477-5 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


”In spite of the great breadth of his work, Emeritus Professor Kaufmann has only had parts of his work translated into English. English-language audience has thus not been fortunate enough to have access to his very broad and comprehensive view on the “welfare state” as it emerged in the geography of continental Europe. In the book at hand the author has compiled a number of his older works, with the aim of interpreting the foundations of social policy in contemporary states and more specifically, of interpreting the core of the sociological approach to the welfare state. This book may serve as a good introduction to readers who seek to approach the various dimensions of social policies; it is also a useful methodological guide for analyzing contemporary social policy and its prospects.”  ·  Social Cohesion and Development

"This collected edition of Professor Kaufmann's essays, written over many years and now translated into English, offers a way of thinking about the welfare state that may not be familiar to an international readership; indeed it exposes the distinctively different intellectual foundations that have shaped the continental European notion of state welfare compared with those of the English-speaking, or Anglo-Saxon, world…[a] splendidly eloquent set of essays."  ·  Journal of Contemporary European Studies

An exceptional reprise of the welfare state experience, the author's sociological approach provides the means for gauging the adequacy of social policy over time and offering projections about the future… Highly recommended.”  ·  Choice

“This book renders accessible a rich set of essays on the past and future development of the welfare state in Europe… and is essential reading.”  ·  from the Foreword

The author belongs to a handful of leading German sociologists. While his international reputation is undisputed, much of his work is not available in English. This collection is an excellent introduction to his work that combines systematic and historical approaches, is highly theoretical (also with respect to the history of social theory), but at the same time  based on a profound knowledge of empirical material..  ·  Jürgen Kocka, Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam

Reagan, Thatcher, New Zealand, austerity, Bush, more Bush, endless financial crises. If we are as shortsighted as Walter Benjamin's famous "angel of history," we stare at the wreckage at our feet, while the "storm of progress" propels us backwards into the future. But Franz-Xaver Kaufmann's angel of history flies above the storm and looks beyond the wreckage, giving us a multi-dimensional, panoramic view across nations, shifting theories, and eras -- from their 19th century inceptions, through their mid-20th-century "Golden Age," and into their turn-of-the-millennium retrenchment and internationalization. If we want to reclaim our sense of solidarity and rebuild our systems for insuring social and economic well-being, this collection of carefully selected, translated, and revised essays is the place to start.”  ·  Stephan Leibfried, Universität Bremen

"Even though the chapters were originally published separately, they fit well together and complement each other well… The book gives a thorough and solid overview not only of the European welfare state concept in itself but also sets it in an international context by including the United States and the former Soviet Union."  ·  Isabelle Kürschner, Hanns-Seidel-Foundation


While social welfare programs, often inspired by international organizations, are spreading throughout the world, the more far-reaching notion of governmental responsibility for the basic well-being of all members of a political society is not, although it remains a feature of Europe and the former British Commonwealth. The welfare state in the European sense is not simply an administrative arrangement of various measures of social protection but a political project embedded in distinct cultural traditions. Offering the first accessible account in English of the historical development of the European idea of the welfare state, this book reviews the intellectual foundations which underpinned the road towards the European welfare state, formulates some basic concepts for its understanding, and highlights the differences in the underlying structural and philosophical conditions between continental Europe and the English-speaking world.

Franz-Xaver Kaufmann is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Bielefeld. His research has focused on the history and institutions of social policy and the welfare state as well as its theory, demographic and family issues, and the sociology of religion. His major publications in English include: The Public Sector: Challenge for Coordination and Learning (edited, 1991); Family Life and Family Policies in Europe (co-edited, 2 vols; 1997, 2002); Varieties of the Welfare State (2012); and Thinking about Social Policy: The German Tradition (2012).

Subject: History (General)Sociology
Area: Europe


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