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Analysing social policy concepts and languageComparative and Transnational Perspectives$
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Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306443

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306443.001.0001

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Social policy language in Denmark and Sweden

Social policy language in Denmark and Sweden

(p.13) ONE Social policy language in Denmark and Sweden
Analysing social policy concepts and language

Nils Edling

Jørn Henrik Petersen

Klaus Petersen

Policy Press

This chapter analyses the social policy language in Denmark and Sweden from the late 19th Century until today. Scandinavia has long been considered an international stronghold for comprehensive welfare states. The starting point in this chapter is a discussion of the historical usages of concepts such as “Folk” (the People) and “velfærd” (welfare) and the early social policy language of the two countries. In the postwar era, the term “welfare state” becomes a key concept. The chapter offers a detailed analysis of the complicated history of the term “welfare state” in the postwar era related to the history of the Social Democratic welfare states. The concept was contested in the 1940s and 1950s and only in the 1960s we find a moment of consensus. The concluding discussion dwells with the more recent tendency to substitute “welfare state” with the softer and more inclusive term “welfare society”.

Keywords:   Denmark, Sweden, social policy language, Scandinavia, 1960s consensus, welfare state, welfare society, Social Democratic welfare states

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