The welfare state: A fundamental dimension of modern government

David Garland

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    What, in fact, is the Welfare State? This article traces the emergence of the welfare state as a specific mode of government, describing its distinctive rationality as well as its characteristic forms, functions and effects. It identifies five sectors of welfare governance, the relations between them, and the various forms these take in different times and places. It discusses the contradictory commitments that shape welfare state practices and the problems associated with these practices and contradictions. It situates welfare state government within a long-term account of the changing relations between the social and the economic spheres. And it argues that the welfare state ought to be understood as a normal social fact - an essential (though constantly contested) part of the social and economic organization of modern capitalist societies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)327-364
    Number of pages38
    JournalArchives Europeennes de Sociologie
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 16 2015


    • Capitalism
    • Governmentality
    • Moral economy
    • Neo-Liberalism
    • Normal social fact
    • Welfare state

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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