The ‘two lives’ of Esping‐Andersen and the revival of a research programme: Gender equality, employment and redistribution in contemporary social policy - Centre de recherche sur les inégalités sociales Access content directly
Journal Articles Social Policy and Administration Year : 2024

The ‘two lives’ of Esping‐Andersen and the revival of a research programme: Gender equality, employment and redistribution in contemporary social policy

Abstract

This article makes two conceptual contributions to social policy literature. First, we summarise key concepts and insights from Gøsta Esping‐Andersen's major books, tracing his work in ‘two lives’: ‘the foundations, or the welfare state between states and markets’ and ‘the demographic turn’. Analysing the ‘first life’, we revisit the centrality of the decommodification and social stratification concepts and the seeds of the social investment approach. Further, we explore Esping‐Andersen's masterful analysis of the double bind of the welfare state (supporting full‐employment and redistributional harmony) in a post‐industrial era and how countries belonging to different regimes have dealt with it. Through his ‘second life’, we explore the ‘impossible marriage’ between full employment and equality, and the development of the social investment approach. Our second contribution is to critically analyse a tension—generated by the shift from a broad to a narrow social policy perspective—between the two lives and how it raises questions for contemporary social policy. We suggest the field should take stock of Esping‐Andersen's work holistically, going beyond a simplistic use of welfare regime typologies and the universal proposition of a Scandinavian‐style social investment approach. This approach tends to overlook factors related to the international context (e.g., the expansion of the market logic, and questions of exchange, inflation and debt) when assessing the impact of social policy on key outcomes. Our ultimate goal is to revive a research programme based on the integration between social policy and international political economy, a programme geared at critically assessing issues related to gender equality, employment and redistribution.
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Dates and versions

hal-04559644 , version 1 (25-04-2024)

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Emanuele Ferragina. The ‘two lives’ of Esping‐Andersen and the revival of a research programme: Gender equality, employment and redistribution in contemporary social policy. Social Policy and Administration, 2024, ⟨10.1111/spol.13029⟩. ⟨hal-04559644⟩
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