A Worldwide Decline of Universalism? Welfare Reform in Comparative Perspective

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00-17:30
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
RC19 Sociology of Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy (host committee)

Language: English

Universalism was a central feature of post-Second World War welfare systems and an important tool to reduce inequalities across countries in the North. In the midst of substantial macroeconomic, market-driven and demographic pressures, these arrangements have recently faced new challenges that raise questions regarding their sustainability. By contrast, in Latin America, as well as other places around the world, the 2000s brought about a process of expansion of basic benefits for previously uncovered individuals and families. This momentum for policy expansion has also been reflected at the international level through instruments like the “social protection floor” (ILO, 2012).
Are we witnessing a convergence around basic systems of social protection that cover everyone with little? Do these policy trends generate greater or lesser space for universalistic social policy today? What do alternative routes depend on? What role do political parties, collective actors and ideas play for the construction of universalism or its maintenance in “hard times”? Despite the relevance of these questions for both North and South, comparative perspectives on the matter are still incipient.
This open session welcomes papers that discuss the prospects and opportunities for universal social protection in different parts of the world and in various macro-economic, institutional and political contexts. We will prioritize papers that make theoretical, methodological and/or empirical contributions to North/South dialogue.
Session Organizers:
Juliana MARTINEZ FRANZONI, University of COSTA RICA, Costa Rica, Camila ARZA, CONICET, Argentina and Diego SANCHEZ-ANCOCHEA, Oxford University, United Kingdom
Daniel BELAND, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
Knowledge on Wellbeing Processes before Universal Social Policy
Mikko PERKIO, Programme for Global Health and Development, University of Tampere, Finland
Social Policy Reforms in Brazil and Mexico
Ricardo VELÁZQUEZ LEYER, University of Bath, United Kingdom