A Democratic Architecture for the Welfare State: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Democratic Architecture for the Welfare State

1st Edition

By Victor A. Pestoff


336 pages | 13 B/W Illus.

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The welfare state faces various challenges in Scandinavia and many European countries today, including a poor work environment in the public sector, a growing democracy deficit, and demographic obstacles. In this new book, Victor A. Pestoff argues that the state cannot resolve these challenges alone or together with the market, rather it requires the active participation of citizens and the third sector in order to overcome them and become more sustainable and flexible in the future.

This book addresses the need for a more democratic architecture for the European welfare state, opening new perspectives for developing alternative channels for direct citizen participation at the sub-municipal level of governance. Pestoff finds that neither democratic theory nor welfare state theory devotes adequate attention to the contemporary role of the third sector as a service provider or to greater direct citizen participation in the provision of welfare services. He shifts the focus of analysis from the input to the output side of the political system and explores new ways to promote a greater role for the third sector and more citizen participation in the provision of universal, tax financed welfare services.

Part 1 discusses social economy actors in Sweden and Scandinavia, both from a historical and future perspective. Part 2 explores major issues for the third sector and welfare state, including the allocation of an organization’s surplus or profit, work environment and service quality in public services and the third sector, consumer perspectives on the social economy, democratizing medical and health care in Japan, and co-production of childcare services in eight European countries. Part 3 revisits the third sector and state in democratic theory and welfare theory, as well as recognizing major hurdles to the third sector and democratization of the welfare state. Part 4 concludes by summarizing the politics of participation in the welfare state.


'At a time of deficits of the democratic political system Viktor Pestoff offers a critical and fundamental insight: the solution is to promote a greater role for the third sector and full-range citizen participation or even empowerment in public policy making and service provision.' Gyorgy Jenei (Corvinus University, Budapest)

Table of Contents

1. Making Citizenship Meaningful in the 21st Century Part I: Social Economy Actors 2. The Future of Cooperatives in Post-Industrial Societies 3. The Development and Future of the Social Economy in Sweden Part II: Major Issues for the Welfare State 4. Balancing Profit and Social Goals in Public/Private Partnerships 5. Work Environment, Service Quality & the Third Sector 6. Consumer Perspectives on the Social Economy and Civil Society 7. Democratizing Medical & Health Care – the Japanese Example 8. Co-Production of Welfare Services: Childcare in Eight European Countries Part: III Revisiting the Third Sector and State 9. Revisiting the Third Sector and State in Democratic Theory 10. Revisiting the Third Sector and State in Welfare Theory 11. Hurdles to the Third Sector & Democratization of the Welfare State Part IV The Politics of Participation in European Welfare States 12. The Politics of Participation in European Welfare States

About the Author

Victor A. Pestoff is Guest Professor at the Civil Society Research Unit at Ersta Skondal University College, Stockholm, Sweden. He is the author of Co-production: The Third Sector and the Delivery of Public Services, also published by Routledge.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Management of Voluntary and Non-Profit Organizations

Voluntary and non-profit organizations are playing an increasingly significant role, worldwide, in the provision and management of public services. Drawing together significant and ground breaking research, this series will be essential reading for students of public policy and management as well as the thinking manager. Topics covered include the management of innovation and change, financial management, performance evaluation and management and organizational development and project management.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy