Work and citizenship: unemployment and unemployment policies in Denmark, 1980–2000

Jørgen Goul Andersen

in Changing labour markets, welfare policies and citizenship

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9781861342720
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301660 | DOI:
Work and citizenship: unemployment and unemployment policies in Denmark, 1980–2000

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This chapter discusses changing welfare policies in Denmark. It provides an overview of (un)employment policies in Denmark during the 1980s and 1990s from the changing conceptions of citizenship. The Danish experience is interesting from a comparative perspective because Denmark was among the first countries to recover significantly from persistent mass employment without sacrificing an unusually high-income quality. From the citizenship perspective, work is not equal to social integration. The main concern from the citizenship perspective was to avoid exclusion from full participation in the social and political life. It was only in the late 1970s that priority was given to protecting the economic and social rights of the unemployed. However, since the economic upswing, Denmark has moved from a state of ‘ultimate universalism’ to a strongly activation-oriented welfare regime with an emphasis on the right and duty to work, as work is considered as the only source of full and true citizenship. In addition to discussing the welfare policies of Denmark, the chapter also discusses the advantages and the pitfalls of this development from the social protection to activation within the citizenship perspective.

Keywords: welfare policies; Denmark; (un)employment policies; citizenship; work; ultimate universalism; activation-oriented welfare regime; right to work; duty to work

Chapter.  8716 words. 

Subjects: Occupations, Professions, and Work

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