1st Edition

Public and Private Welfare in Modern Europe Productive Entanglements

Edited By Fabio Giomi, Célia Keren, Morgane Labbé Copyright 2022
    226 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    226 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Since the 1980s, neoliberals have openly contested the idea that the state should protect the socio-economic well-being of its citizens, making ‘privatization’ their mantra. Yet, as historians and social scientists have shown, welfare has always been a ‘mixed economy’, wherein private and public actors dynamically interacted, collaborating or competing with each other in the provision of welfare services. This book will be of interest to students, scholars and practitioners of welfare by developing three innovative approaches. Firstly, it illuminates the productive nature of public/private entanglements. Far from amounting to a zero-sum game, the interactions between the two sectors have changed over time what welfare encompasses, its contents and targets, often engendering the creation of new fields of intervention. Secondly, this book departs from a well-established tradition of comparison between Western nation-states by using and mixing various scales of analysis (local, national, international and global) and by covering case studies from Spain to Poland and France to Greece in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Thirdly, this book goes beyond state centrism in welfare studies by bringing back a host of public and private actors, from municipalities to international organizations, from older charities to modern NGOs.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.


    Fabio Giomi, Célia Keren and Morgane Labbé

    1. A quintessential mixed economy?: the issue of illegitimacy as a testing ground for creative collaboration between public and private actors in French-speaking Switzerland, 18901960

    Joëlle Droux

    2. The co-constitution of public and private actors: building the field of social protection in German and French cities at the end of the nineteenth century

    Catherine Maurer

    3. A "mixed economy of welfare" model: the complementary and mutual growth of public and private welfare in France (1970s2000s)

    Axelle Brodiez-Dolino

    4. Social movement and economic statistics in interwar Poland: building an alternative expert knowledge on the condition of the working class

    Morgane Labbé

    5. Performing the state?: public and private actors in the field of social provision in twentieth-century Greece

    Efi Avdela

    6. From international aid to state policy: the cross-border trajectory of the Spanish child evacuation scheme, 1936–1939

    Célia Keren

    7. Dividing international work on social protection of migrants: the International Labour Office and private organizations (19211935)

    Linda Guerry

    8. Big Pharma, the World Health Organization, and the co-constitution of international policies against river blindness

    Auriane Guilbaud


    Fabio Giomi is Research Fellow at CETOBaC in Paris. His research interests include voluntary associations and social movements, women and gender, Islam, and transnational studies in contemporary Southeastern Europe. His recent publications include Making Muslim women European. Voluntary associations, gender and Islam in post-Ottoman Bosnia and Yugoslavia (CEU Press, 2021) and Kemalism. Transnational Politics in the Post-Ottoman World (I.B. Tauris, 2019).

    Célia Keren is Associate Professor of Modern History at Sciences Po Toulouse in France. Her research interests are the transnational history of political mobilizations and humanitarian aid, especially child aid in twentieth-century Western Europe. Among others, she is the author of “When the CGT did humanitarian work: Spanish children evacuated to France (1936–1939)”, Le Mouvement Social, 264, 3 (2018), 15–39.

    Morgane Labbé is Associate Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Her research interests are in the history of welfare, population policies, and nationalism in Eastern Europe. She published La Nationalité, une Histoire de Chiffres. Politique et statistiques en Europe centrale (1848–1919) (Presses de Sciences Po, 2019) and edited a special issue of the Revue d’Histoire de la Protection Sociale (2018).

    'By placing the "productive entanglement" of private and public actors at the center of welfare history, this exciting and innovative collection uses empirically rich local studies to explore the many and diverse spaces in which private and public actors have long worked together to create and sustain mixed economies of welfare across modern Europe. The result is an arresting analysis in which social protection emerges as a multipolar, relational and evolving field populated by many different kinds of actors, both individual and collective. Their interactions have produced a diverse range of trajectories rooted in a shared sense of the value, need and demand for social welfare.'

    Laura Lee Downs, European University Institute