CA 18119 “Who Cares in Europe?”

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)

Duration: 20/03/2019 – 19/03/2023

Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory research team: Adriana Zaharijević, Bojana Radovanović, Gazela Pudar Draško, Jelena Ćeriman, Srđan Prodanović.


This Action will define and develop an emerging research field that explores the relationships among voluntary associations, families and states in the creation of social welfare in Europe. It focuses on the question of how state welfare emerged from the social welfare provided by non-profit, non-state institutions and individuals; how it has developed and changed over time; and how, in recent years, it has entered into crisis in many countries. The Action emphasizes the welfare state’s deep historical roots, and will use local case studies to recover the “voices” and contributions of individuals, families and voluntary associations. This will give us a much deeper and richer story about social protection in Europe than is currently available. By analysing the long-term development of welfare within a triadic optic that examines the interactions among families, voluntary welfare associations and states in the creation of social welfare, the Action has the potential to radically shift dominant paradigms in the field of welfare studies. The Action will contribute to welfare policy development and debate by offering a historical perspective on current problems and debates and the principles and premises that underpin them.

The following research questions guide our Action: 1. What has been the historical contribution of the voluntary sector to the development of welfare provision in Europe? 2. What role have families played in this process? 3. What has been the relationship between diverse political regimes and welfare initiatives? 4. How does the triadic approach extend and enrich our understanding of the history of social welfare? 5. How does this history shape and constrain responses to the current crisis in welfare?

The specific objectives are to: 1) define the research field, including the development of common terminology and categories that enable comparisons between different national case studies; 2) identify and collate existing research in the field; 3) build links and identify synergies between current national and transnational research in the emerging field; 4) test and apply the proposed triadic approach, and its foregrounding of an active role for families, for its transnational, national and local relevance; 5) coordinate a series of publications on the history of modern European welfare from a perspective that foregrounds interactions among actors from families and voluntary associations as well as state actors; 6) coordinate publication of a series of European readers for students in history, and in the social and political sciences; 7) coordinate a series of round-tables, workshops and conferences involving policy makers and think tanks; 8) disseminate research results to a broad audience, including policy makers, think tanks and voluntary associations, by contributing to relevant websites, journals and online publications.

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