XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Sociology on the move, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010



Thematic Sessions

2 parallel Thematic Sessions will be held at 17:45-19:45 during 5 days, from Monday through Friday, July 12-16, 2010. 

Thematic sessions on Nordic welfare facing global challenges
Papers by invitation
Coordinators: Ulla Björnberg, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Björn
Wittrock, Swedish Collegium for Advance Studies, Sweden

Congress Programme


Sessions descriptions

Session 1: Equal rights to work and care in the Nordic countries
Coordinators: Guðný Björk Eydal, University of Iceland, ge@hi.is, Teppo Kröger, 
University of Jyvaskyla , Finland, krteka@yfi.jyu.fi
The five Nordic countries  Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and  Sweden share a tradition of welfare state support for families with  children that it is characterised by joint features like economic generosity,  universalism and gender equality. The Nordic welfare states are also said to have pioneered the  transformation of parenthood into political issues. Female labour market participation and fertility rates  are relatively high compared to many other European countries. The aim of  the session is to provide insights into how these policies in the Nordic countries have had an impact on gender equality in families, and how parents combine work and care.

Session 2: Social cleavages in transition: the Nordic countries in comparative perspective
Coordinator: Stefan Svallfors, Umeå University, Sweden, stefan.svallfors@soc.umu.se
Rising inequality, changing categorical inequalities, and new forms and levels of diversity all give rise to questions about the cohesion and social (dis)integration of the advanced political economies. Developments in the Nordic countries hold a particular interest in these respects, since they take place in comparatively egalitarian societies with extensive welfare states, which historically have been seen as key institutional devices for providing social cohesion and amelioration.
The purpose of this session is to present papers that relate to changing social cleavages in the Nordic countries. Possible topics include, but are not restricted to, (a) changes in categorical inequalities in the Nordic countries, including changing patterns of class, gender, age, and ethnic inequalities; (b) the relation between social cleavages, attitudes and voting in the Nordic countries, in a comparative and/or over-time perspective and (c) patterns of integration and exclusion in the Nordic countries, including issues related to social and political marginalisation.

Session 3: Social determinants of health. Welfare states, population health and health inequalities
Organizers: Johan Fritzell, Stockholm University, Sweden, Johan.Fritzell@chess.su.se
Comparative welfare state research and research on population health and health inequalities have developed into two distinct fields of research that seldom meet. This is quite surprising not least since many of the early welfare state programmes had a public health concern and were initiated to improve population health. Also within the field of social determinants of health there is a growing recognition that social structural factors, and thereby social policy, are of crucial importance for health and health inequalities within and between countries. This is especially highlighted by the recent WHO Commission on Social determinants of Health. The key social determinants of health thus concerns ‘the causes of the causes’ and include a range of living conditions, of which most are well-beyond medical care. These conditions are in turn to a large extent shaped by political and economic forces.
In this session we welcome papers linking the institutions and characteristics of welfare states and health outcomes. Empirical papers dealing with cross-national variations in health and health inequalities are welcome, but also more conceptual and theoretical papers discussing social policy, population health and health inequalities with an emphasis on the Nordic model.

Session 4: Financial crisis and the changing role of the state in the Nordic countries
Organizer: Antoinette Hetzler, Lund University, Sweden, antoinette.hetzler@soc.lu.se
As nation States embark on financial remedies to maintain banking systems and the flow of credit and as multinational corporations line-up at government doorsteps asking for emergency financial aid to keep employees and factories competitive, the role of the Welfare State is changing. A welfare system is dependent on full employment but in the last decades principles of full employment have been eroded by principles of balanced budgets, caps on state deficit spending and protection against inflation.
This session will focus on the relationship of the state, the market and the household in the light of the financial crisis with a focus on the Nordic countries. Diverse theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks in understanding the nature of changes of the welfare state are particularly welcome. Such changing relations and structures include but are not limited to: regulating the financial markets; failure of markets, failure of welfare states; global financial markets, increased risk and increased state vulnerability; failure of credit markets and consequences on the household; the end of the “free market” as an ideology for distribution of wealth and consequences for the nation state

Session 5: Migration as a challenge to the Nordic welfare model
Organizers: Eskil Wadensjö, Stockholm University, Sweden, eskil.wadensjo@sofi.su.se and Björn Hvinden, Norwegian Social Research, Norway
There is a need for investigation of the Nordic welfare states' experience with labour migration, family reunification and refugees; the economic, social and political impact, policy responses, and factors related to success or failure of integration efforts. How do the migrants fare in the welfare state? Are they treated different than native born? Does the new labour migration within the EU/EEA raise different challenges for the NWM than non-western immigration? Do labour migrants from the new EU countries displace or crowd out marginal groups, e.g. people with disabilities or young people with low skills and adjustment problems? How does immigration affect the volume and design of Nordic welfare state? Does increased ethnic diversity diminish the majority population's support for redistributive welfare provisions, as expressed in opinion polls and at political elections?