2018-07-17Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/19866
Public and Personal Social Services in European Countries from Public/Municipal to Private - and Back to Municipal and "Third Sector" Provision
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
This article discusses the provision of public services (public utilities) and personal social services in European countries. In pursuing a historical perspective, four stages are discerned: the pre-welfare state of the late nineteenth century; the advanced welfare state climaxing in the 1970s; the neo-liberal policy phase since the early 1980s; and the recent phase since the mid-2000s. It is argued that, during each phase, the prevalent organizational form of service provision (whether municipal/public, private, or third sector) was shaped by the current dominant political beliefs and discourse; that is, by the “social democratic” assumption of the operational preference of public/municipal sector provision until the 1970s and the neo-liberal trust in the operational superiority of market liberalization and privatization. In the recent phase since the mid-2000s, divergent trends are observed. On the one hand, the neo-liberal market and privatization drive has persisted while, on the other, in reaction to the downturn of the neo-liberal policy tenets and the socio-economic fallout of fiscal austerity policies, a comeback of the public/municipal sector (remunicipalization) in public service provision and a (re-)emergence of third sector organizations and actors in the provision of personal social services and care have taken shape, somewhat reminiscent of the pre-welfare state engagement of societal actors.
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This article was supported by the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.