Intellectual Roots

Christopher Pierson and Matthieu Leimgruber

in The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579396
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Intellectual Roots

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This article summarizes the most important of the intellectual trends across a range of national (and international) trajectories. It concentrates most of the attention upon those formative years in which the case for a welfare state was first set out though it also considers the ways in which these arguments were changed or embellished as the welfare state became rather more of an established fact. The case of Germany is chosen first because this is almost universally regarded as the first state to have taken the decisive legislative measures that made it a welfare state or Sozialstaat. The emergence of early French social policy was an exercise in nation-state building. Scandinavia, and Sweden in particular, has a quite central place in the ideational history of welfare. The article then provides three important features of the ideational fate of welfare in the post-war period.

Keywords: welfare state; Germany; French social policy; Scandinavia; Sweden; intellectual trends

Article.  6097 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Theory

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