The welfare state’s making of cosmopolitan Europe: Individualization of social rights as European integration

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Series Details Vol.14, No.1, February 2012, p35-56
Publication Date February 2012
ISSN 1461-6696
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This article seeks to analyze the extent of welfare state tendencies towards individualization of social citizenship rights from the perspective of Cosmopolitan Europe (Beck and Grande 2007, Cosmopolitan Europe). Empirical study of legislated reforms to national insurance benefit schemes in three European countries since 1980 suggests that individualization processes transform modern West European societies through the construction of self-sufficiency, the individualization of responsibility, and the personalization of social services.

Although European welfare states vary with respect to the extent of individualization of social categories, late modernization processes appear to transform national solidarities into a cosmopolitan solidarity and hence affect all modern institutions of welfare states, including bureaucratic categories, legal rights, and meaning of work.

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