Market Impurity: Welfare Liberalization As Moral Transgression

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Morten FREDERIKSEN, Aalborg University, Denmark
One of the most fundamental differences between welfare regimes is found in ascription of social responsibilities. The legitimate, moral order of the responsibilities of state, market, family and civil society are divided in different ways and justified by valuations ascribing superiority of different roles and memberships over others: e.g. citizenship over market agent, family membership over citizenship, or market agent over community membership. These symbolic patterns are largely homologous to the structures of formalized welfare institutions. The institutional arrangements of actual welfare states are, however, far from static and the ever changing fashions of welfare institutions and social policy may challenge these preexisting ascriptions of responsibility and create legitimacy problems. This paper investigates and compares the evaluations of welfare liberalization, marketization and institutional hybridity in Sweden and Denmark. Both country cases belong to the universal model of welfare and the introduction of market agents and market principles represents a significant departure from former policies. However, the two cases differ importantly on the historical trajectory of mix-model welfare: Sweden has historically been the more purely statist country, whereas the mix of state, market and civil society organisations has played a more prominent role in Denmark. The papers draws on the work of Douglas (2013) and Lamont (1992) in investigating the way such institutional reforms challenge and ’pollute’ institutionalized valuations of social responsibility and on Boltanski & Thevenot (2006) in comparing the ability and willingness to justify hybrid welfare institutions. The paper is based on a comparative, qualitative interview study of 61 Swedes and 54 Danes.