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Theoretical Visions versus Policymaking Realities? Searching for the Logical Grounds of Expansion and Retrenchment Arguments in Studies on Nordic Social Policy Models from the 1960s to the 2000s

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Theoretical welfare analyses emphasising the Nordic welfare regimes' structural stability have increasingly clashed, above all since the late 1980s, with policy analyses emphasising that Nordic welfare benefits should be cut back. This study analyses the ideological, political and broader institutional reasons for why this disjuncture increased. We argue that theory and policy analyses may be reconciled by "talking past one another" on definitions of universalism, on assessments of whether crisis and systemic change are actually happening, as well as on whether or how citizens' opinions should inform policymaking. Such an analysis enables us to more dispassionately assess the veracity of "resilience analyses" of Nordic welfare regimes, as well as to more critically assess the feasibility of retrenchment policies actually pursued.


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