The Boundaries of Solidarity: Multilevel Governance and Welfare Chauvinism
The increasing complexity and heterogeneity of contemporary societies represent a major challenge to European welfare states. Their boundaries of social rights, political participation and ethnic belonging used to be highly congruent. In the past few decades, however, globalization, European integration and mass immigration have eroded this congruence. Policy makers are confronted with a dilemma. In view of increased international interdependence, the call for transnational solidarity has become more vocal. However, citizens do not necessarily adapt their allegiances to the transnationalization of their realm. To the contrary, globalization also triggers counter-reactions such as ethnocentrism and parochialism). Hence, there is increasing controversy over who should contribute to, and benefit from, national welfare states, and whether these welfare states should be upscaled to a supranational level.
Against this backdrop, I will write a monograph on national and transnational welfare state solidarity in the European Union. In a nutshell, the book first maps out the boundaries of solidarity in Europe by analysing the incidence of public support for welfare chauvinism across European societies and across social policy areas. I expect that boundaries of solidarity are strongest in unemployment policy or national pension systems and weakest in areas such as child care. I then move on to ask how and under which conditions these national boundaries can be overcome by examining who is most likely to show solidarity towards other Europeans, who are the individual recipients most likely to receive solidarity, and how can social policies be designed to garner public support for transnational solidarity in the EU?
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