Description Parallel Stream Session A.2

Description Parallel Stream Session A.2

Parallel Stream Session A (09:30-10:45)
Stream A.2: Social justice and security in Europe.

Marcel Hoogenboom (Utrecht University) and Wim van Oorschot (KU Leuven).

It is still prevailing practice to define social security in terms of public income protection instruments and institutional settings. However, it has been suggested that social security could perhaps be better understood if one focuses not on the instruments as such, but on their goals. In this perspective, social security is a status of citizens, in which they experience and perceive security as regards their personal existence. Social security policies and instruments are then seen as parts of a wider social setting providing a (more or less) stable and viable socio-political and socio-economic context for citizens’ lives (Kaufmann, 1970, 1987; see also Berghman 1986). In particular, Kaufmann distinguishes two aspects of people’s security. The outer-directed form, Systemsicherheit or ‘system-security’, lies in the presence of reliable resources that protect citizens against all sorts of risks and that they can use to achieve desirable ends. Yet social security not only aims at guaranteeing citizens a specified and ‘objective’ standard of living, but also ‘the simultaneous possibility of assuring oneself of this protection and its reliability’ (Kaufmann, 1987). This inner-directed form, Selbstsicherheit or ‘actor-security’, consists of a deeply embedded social-psychological feeling of self-esteem and self-reliance, which makes people confident of being able to deal with contingencies and future challenges, and of not having to worry about one’s socio-economic existence. People with more actor-security are those who have a stronger self-confidence and have to worry less about their future incomes and employment. Here Kaufmann discusses the welfare state and its social security legislations and instruments.

The contributions we invite for this workshop address one or more of the following questions:

  1. To what degree do citizens in various European welfare state systems experience ‘actor security’ (in terms of self-esteem, self-reliance, or socio-economic – income and/or employment – security), and what are the (drivers and consequences of) inequalities in such experiences?
  2. What is the role played by ‘system security’ (in terms of social policies) in levels of and inequalities in experienced ‘actor security’ of citizens in various European welfare state systems?
  3. How do citizens in various European countries perceive the ‘system security’ and ‘actor security’ of their welfare state systems in terms of social justice

We invite papers with a theoretical and/or empirical perspective, and if empirical, with a quantitative or qualitative approach. In addition, papers with a national, as well as a cross-national focus are welcomed.