Stream 20

Innovative Methods and Attitudes to the Future of the Welfare State

Stream convenors:
European welfare states face all the challenges of the transition from industrialism to post-industrialism, compounded by austerity. The leading response from the policy community centres on social investment. This session will deal with the public attitudes and expectations that will be a major influence in shaping new welfare policies and in influencing how social investment policies develop in different countries. It will focus on the contribution of innovative qualitative methods, a field which has seen particular activity in recent years, and has not received the same attention as the more established cross-national quantitative attitude surveys. Democratic forums, discourse analysis, biographical studies, narrative approaches, visual methodology, longitudinal methods, strategies for participatory research, experimental approaches, new uses of the focus group method, Delphi conferences, expert forums and other methodologies are now making substantial contributions to our detailed understanding of attitudes to welfare. We focus on attitudes to future development because this is a field of particular relevance to the conference theme and one in which qualitative methods can make a valuable contribution.
We welcome papers dealing with any or several of the methods listed above, papers comparing these methods to the findings of quantitative approaches and papers applying qualitative methods to generate new findings. We also welcome any papers dealing with other topics within the general topic-area of the stream.

⟨ List of Stream Themes