Studies of diverse welfare topics, such as the making of sickness insurance, pension and taxation policies, the relations between authorities and marginalized groups and of gender relations in labour markets, form a vital part of the research of the Department of History (SU) and Institute for Futures Studies. Together these units make up a strong research environment with well-developed international and domestic connections.
During the last decade, three larger research projects at the university have been especially important for the development of this milieu. First of all, the interdisciplinary Welfare State at the Crossroads-project (Välfärdsstat i brytningstid), lead by Professors Klas Åmark and Walter Korpi, Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University, studied the restructuring of the welfare state in a comparative and long-term perspective. Altogether, the project’s PhD-students 1996-2004 submitted sixteen doctoral dissertations in history and sociology. The dissertations in history included, inter alia, studies of the Swedish workfare policies in the 1920s, of poor relief in a major factory town and of child welfare policies regulating men’s responsibilities towards children born out of wedlock. Prof. Åmark has also published a comparative historical study of welfare policies in Norway and Sweden. Three edited volumes, two in Swedish (1999, 2002) and one in English (2005) , and frequent participation in international conferences 1997-2006 bear further evidence of this productive project’s success.
A second project, the State and the Citizen in the Welfare Society (Stat och individ i välfärdssamhället) lead by Professor Anders Berge, focused on the relation between the state and marginalized groups and produced books on Swedish sterilization policy and attitudes towards and treatment of male homosexuals. The third project, Gender, Work and the Welfare State (Genus, arbete och välfärdsstat), supervised by Professor Yvonne Hirdman, studied gender relations in a long-term perspective with two studies of women’s wage labour in neutral Sweden during WWI and WWII. By studying the mobilized economy they elucidate the shifting, gendered attitudes and policies towards women’s labour market participation.
Current/forthcoming research by younger scholars in the broad field of welfare studies includes unemployment, individual rights and citizenship, taxation policies. Their studies cover a long period of time and include different approaches such as intra-Nordic comparisons, histories of political and legal concepts and gender analysis.
As a centre for historical welfare studies, the Department of History and Institute for Futures Studies engage social scientists covering a wide range of topics and a long period of time, that is both the historic foundations of the welfare society and the current/future political issues. The researchers based in Stockholm will be able to help visiting scholars (professors, post docs and PhD students) and they have in their own work demonstrated a keen interest in comparative studies and inter- and intra-disciplinary programmes.
Theme Group 2: ‘The National Welfare State: Citizenship and Democracy’ is coordinated from here.
Contact: Urban Lundberg, email: urban.lundberg(at)historia. su.se