The territorial dimension of social policies has for long been a neglected perspective in comparative social policy analysis. Scholars took for granted that social policies were national policies and almost all comparative work which has been done after World War II based comparisons on national data. At the same time, the nation state strengthened its identity and legitimation thanks to the redistributive capacity of welfare policies. Since the end of the 1970s, the deep structural changes that occurred kicked-off processes of territorial re-organisation of social policies. This chapter investigates this process considering how the need of structural institutional changes has been met by an intense reform activity which covered in the last two decades most policy areas their territorial dimension and the actors involved in their design, management, implementation and funding. In the chapter the combined effect of these two reform processes has been defined as the subsidiarization of social policies. The concept of subsidiarity captures well the two processes of change because it addresses both the vertical and the horizontal dimension of social policies, pointing to increasingly complex multi-level governance solutions to social policy reform needs. The aim of the chapter is to explore this complexity and to provide a conceptual framework to help addressing the differences existing within social Europe and paving the ground for a more in-depth analysis of specific policies. In order to address this aim and considering both dimensions of change, the chapter is divided into five sections. The first (§ 1) relates social policy analysis and the production of scale adopting a middle-range level of theorization, i.e. a theoretically informed pragmatic orientation as the best option to consider the complexities that social policy analysis entails. This implies that I avoid the use of all-encompassing grand theories to explain the changes and to present a synthesis of the results of our theoretically informed empirical investigation. Subsequently in the second section (§ 2) attention will be devoted to the different forms the rescaling process can take and – in the third section (§ 3) to the multiplication of actors. Despite the commonalities these two processes share in all 8 countries considered (CH, ES, FIN, FR, IT, NO, PL, SE), differences between welfare systems in Europe influence the directions these changes may take. In the fourth section (§ 4) the different spatial and actor’s configurations are shortly presented together with the main features of the welfare systems taken into consideration. The nearly prosaic working hypothesis is that the subsidiarization of social policies is a converging normative rhetoric in most European countries’ social policy reforms, but in most cases not necessarily a convergent practice. Variations in the implementation of this rhetoric into substantive rules occur according to the specificities of the respective institutional frames at national and/or sub-national levels. This assumption is shortly addressed in the fifth section (§ 5) considering the pros and cons of the processes at stake and the main critical dimensions that emerge as open questions.

Rescaling Social Policies towards Multilevel Governance in Europe: Some Reflections on Processes at Stake and Actors Involved

KAZEPOV, IURI ALBERT KYRIL
2010-01-01

Abstract

The territorial dimension of social policies has for long been a neglected perspective in comparative social policy analysis. Scholars took for granted that social policies were national policies and almost all comparative work which has been done after World War II based comparisons on national data. At the same time, the nation state strengthened its identity and legitimation thanks to the redistributive capacity of welfare policies. Since the end of the 1970s, the deep structural changes that occurred kicked-off processes of territorial re-organisation of social policies. This chapter investigates this process considering how the need of structural institutional changes has been met by an intense reform activity which covered in the last two decades most policy areas their territorial dimension and the actors involved in their design, management, implementation and funding. In the chapter the combined effect of these two reform processes has been defined as the subsidiarization of social policies. The concept of subsidiarity captures well the two processes of change because it addresses both the vertical and the horizontal dimension of social policies, pointing to increasingly complex multi-level governance solutions to social policy reform needs. The aim of the chapter is to explore this complexity and to provide a conceptual framework to help addressing the differences existing within social Europe and paving the ground for a more in-depth analysis of specific policies. In order to address this aim and considering both dimensions of change, the chapter is divided into five sections. The first (§ 1) relates social policy analysis and the production of scale adopting a middle-range level of theorization, i.e. a theoretically informed pragmatic orientation as the best option to consider the complexities that social policy analysis entails. This implies that I avoid the use of all-encompassing grand theories to explain the changes and to present a synthesis of the results of our theoretically informed empirical investigation. Subsequently in the second section (§ 2) attention will be devoted to the different forms the rescaling process can take and – in the third section (§ 3) to the multiplication of actors. Despite the commonalities these two processes share in all 8 countries considered (CH, ES, FIN, FR, IT, NO, PL, SE), differences between welfare systems in Europe influence the directions these changes may take. In the fourth section (§ 4) the different spatial and actor’s configurations are shortly presented together with the main features of the welfare systems taken into consideration. The nearly prosaic working hypothesis is that the subsidiarization of social policies is a converging normative rhetoric in most European countries’ social policy reforms, but in most cases not necessarily a convergent practice. Variations in the implementation of this rhetoric into substantive rules occur according to the specificities of the respective institutional frames at national and/or sub-national levels. This assumption is shortly addressed in the fifth section (§ 5) considering the pros and cons of the processes at stake and the main critical dimensions that emerge as open questions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2503953
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