Nordic civic society organisations and the future of welfare services

A model for Europe?

image of Nordic civic society organisations and the future of welfare services

When well functioning national welfare states are put under pressure, also the tasks of civic society and citizens’ mutual responsibility are being re-defined. Hence, the significance of the civic society organisations in one of the most successful and stable circumstances of welfare states - in Northern Europe - is of great interest. This publication gives a first comprehensive overview of existing research on civic society organisations in the area of welfare services in the five Nordic countries. Besides a comparative Nordic analysis, focussed national contributions are provided. Finally, leading European researchers connect the Nordic debate in to a stimulating European context. How far are the Nordic welfare traditions still of significance, since all welfare states are similarly challenged by the global market economy? Can welfare organisations provide opportunities even for the most vulnerable groups to achieve full citizenship?



European perspective and future challenges of welfare services

Getting users more involved in social services is something that across political and ideological cleavages most people would acclaim. Similarly as with respect to other catch words (“strengthening democracy”), the issue to be debated is not whether to opt for a “yes” or a “no”; rather, discussions centre on the different meanings and impacts of “user involvement”, depending on the broader conceptions for the future of markets, politics and social services that set the framework for the respective notions of user involvement.


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