Social actors' political awareness of the need to reinforce the supranational dimension of social cohesion has gradually turned the concept of the European Social Model (ESM) into a key notion in political and scientific debates on social responses to globalisation. This chapter provides an overview of the main theme of this book, which is the concept of the ESM. The first part of this chapter talks about the features of ESM within academic, political, and economic debate. It continues by discussing the various assumptions used to define this concept, and the apparent divergence in the definitions of ESM in literature. This chapter aims to discuss the ‘invention’ of this concept in the framework of the building and institutionalisation of supranational entities. It also describes how ESM has emerged in the elaboration and discussion of public policy at the European level.
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