THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF EUROPE WORKSHOP AND THE MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY WORKSHOP OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO ANNOUNCE
A CALL FOR PAPERS
For a Conference for Junior Scholars
Changing Welfare States:
Exploring European Social Policies and Populations in Time and Space
University of Chicago, May 28-29 2004
Description: Significant transformations are underway in Europe as state and other governing institutions shift the grounds and modes of intervention in the social and economic fields of European societies. It is common to hear that such changes in social policy are necessary and inevitable in order for the New Europe to adapt to global economic conditions and far-reaching demographic permutations on the ground. The stakes are high. It is argued that the challenge lies in staying economically competitive while at the same time keeping the promises and upholding the basic principles of what, for many, has become an integral part of European identity - its model of welfare.
In reaction to these developments, the last ten years have witnessed a number of ways in which European societies and their rapidly shifting populations are made subject to particular policy interventions by state and, increasingly, private actors - all responding in a variety of ways to anxieties structuring contemporary European discourse regarding Europe's economic, social, and cultural "sustainability." Key to these anxieties are inter-related questions surrounding (1) record-low fertility rates and the ways in which women should
increasingly be drawn into the workforce while at the same time bearing
the "right" amount of children with the help of new "family-friendly"
policies; (2) how Europe's aging and declining population can be augmented and its productivity improved via policies that attract the right kinds of immigrant workers (female care-takers and nurses, highly educated programmers, seasonal farm-hands, and so on), while at the same time disciplining unruly immigrant youth at home and excluding those deemed non-productive, too culturally different, and/or dangerous; and (3) how the rights and duties of non-productive citizens - pensioners, the unemployed, etc. - are to be renegotiated.
We are thus interested in the ways in which social and economic policy in contemporary Europe is geared towards these different segments of the population, and how these policies relate to larger questions of how Europe can render itself "sustainable" in an era where the state, the family, intergenerational solidarity, "multiculturalism," and welfare are deemed to be "in crisis." Concomitantly, we invite contributions about the widespread moves in Europe to change fundamental aspects of government from practices associated with the welfare state, in which state institutions take direct responsibility for the well-being of society, to a regulatory state, in which the task of caring for the population is subjected to the "rationality" of market forces and state institutions are taking steps to create the conditions under which corporations and nonprofit sector organizations will find it compelling and/or rewarding to get into business of social welfare.
None of these moves are controversial. Yet as part of the accession and
expansion process, the EU is now promoting as requirements for membership some of the same social reforms, welfare restructuring, and migration policies that are currently disputed and by no means taken for granted in EU constituent states. Such changes are having significant effects in post-socialist countries negotiating market principles and a falling standard of living for large parts of their populations.
This conference aims to promote an ethnographically sensitive, historically grounded discussion on social policy in Europe. We are, however, not only interested in identifying current trends in European governance, in tracking their socio-cultural and political-economic effects, and in suggesting compelling ways to analyze policy as a domain of anthropological inquiry. Rather, a discussion of any contemporary "crisis" must be based on work regarding how the institutions and practices currently under revision came into being historically, and regarding how similar questions were dealt with
at different points in time. We thus seek submissions that deal with any of the above issues, either in their contemporary manifestations, historical instantiations, or the relationship between the two. In particular, we invite abstracts for papers that focus on the following interrelated themes:
the historical location of responsibility for social welfare (e.g.
states, religious institutions, corporations, families, individuals)
the creation of (new) labor expectations along the axes of citizen/non-citizen, male/female, old/young, employed/unemployed, and the formation of these categories through discourses on labor
the beginning of the welfare state in the 19th century, welfare
evolutions in the 20th century, and the shift to the regulatory state at the turn of the 21st century
the ways in which "reforms" and welfare restructuring are and were
historically made compelling via, for example, the mobilization of scientific data such as demography and statistics: In other words, what is the work that goes into making the large-scale "reforms" seem so inevitable, necessary, and "good"?
the creation and reproduction of institutions and authorities
resulting from policies based on arguments about "new needs" and the
transformation of discourses on needs
the individual and collective responses to these practices and
Those submitting abstracts will ideally be ABD graduate students currently writing their dissertations and recent PhDs, although we are open on this issue. Some travel and accommodation assistance may be available.
ONE-PAGE ABSTRACTS DUE BY MARCH 18
Email abstracts as both an attachment and in the body of an email message to the addresses below. Please direct any questions you may have to the email addresses below (Andrew Gilbert, Nitzan Shoshan, and Alexander Joskowicz respectively).
Abstracts can also be sent by mail to the address provided.
The organizers acknowledge the generous support of the Norman Wait Harris Foundation at the University of Chicago.
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)