Stream 10

Migration and the Welfare State: Challenges for Social Cohesion

Stream convenors:  
Over the last few decades migration has been a significant source of change in social policy, as migration has provided both challenges and opportunities for European welfare states. The integration of migrants into both the work force and society at large has proved to be a difficult task for welfare states. Furthermore, the relationship between the majority population and migrants has been a challenge at times. When migrants are perceived to be a burden on the welfare state, or a threat to societal cohesion, this has been a force of change in the institutional setup of welfare states. Recently, this has been evident in the growing popularity of welfare chauvinistic populist rightwing parties across Europe. In short, the research field has not only discussed migration as a challenge for the welfare state itself, but also as challenge for public support for the welfare state and other aspects of social cohesion, such as social trust. Migration, however, also has the potential to be the solution to some of Europe’s problems, where an ageing population and low levels of economic growth are potential threats to the sustainability of European welfare states. In this stream we want to discuss both opportunities and challenges, and emphasize interlinkages with the welfare state.

Therefore the stream welcomes papers that deal with how migration and migrants might reshape European welfare states. This can be from the perspective of social policy, economics, politics, public attitudes, or amongst other things, as long as the interplay between migration and the welfare state is engaged. We also welcome both theoretical and empirical papers alike.

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