CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

The invention of the modern welfare state cannot be understood without taking into account the international movement at the beginning of the nineteenth century which led every industrial nation to take an interest in working class insecurity and to try to stabilize the conditions of salaried workers, even if this challenged the liberal order. After the Second World War, the social sphere was considered an indispensable complement to the economy (Declaration of Philadelphia, 1944). The consequences of this have been categorized by Esping Andersen into three ideal types: national universalist, corporatist continental, and residual. In the 1970s, a long-term economic and social crisis was accompanied by a new liberal reference point for public action, as the legal approach of social law specialists was superseded by that of economists and “managers.” Social actors now had to be made aware of their responsibilities. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a third tendency appeared with the Millenium Development Goals. The social sphere’s role as a condition of social cohesion and growth was reevaluated.


  • welfare state
  • social state
  • social question
  • social actor
  • individual responsability
  • social inclusion
  • active social state
François-Xavier Merrien
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