Financing Welfare Arrangements in Times of Transition: Europe from the 17th to the Early 20th Century
Historical and contemporary research on diverse regional and national trajectories of welfare arrangements – including welfare states – has increasingly acknowledged the importance of non-state actors in providing welfare. This emerging pluralist vision of care-provision puts a classical periodization of welfare development into question. Nascent welfare states of the second half of the 19th century have traditionally been portrayed as highly time-specific responses to unprecedented conditions of industrialization and its social costs, thus being put in general discontinuity to preceding arrangements of the early modern era. Turning away from fully state-sponsored welfare allows us to dissolve rigid categories of “modern” and “pre-modern” welfare and to investigate the continuities between charity, co-financed, collective or commercial insurances or private arrangements across these centuries.
The focus on financing structures will serve as a common comparative horizon for the workshop, addressing exemplary questions, such as: Did 19th century “innovations” indeed constitute a clear break with earlier patterns? How did modes of finance impact governance structures of welfare arrangements? To what extent did the interplay between those who paid and those who decided impact the definition of social risks and entitlement to social welfare? This workshop will try to zoom in on a transition period between welfare provision in estate-based societies on the one hand and emerging industrial societies on the other. By focusing on financing structures of welfare arrangements between the 17th and the early 20th century the workshop seeks to highlight potential patterns and trajectories of financing, governance structures, socio-economic contexts and regional divides. Finally, by bringing early modernists and modernists at the same table, the workshop will try to modify rigid periodization in the history of welfare and to excavate the longue durée of welfare policy legacies.