Section Overview: Governance and Management of Social Policy in Europe

Ferlie, Ewan and Ongaro, Edoardo (2023). Section Overview: Governance and Management of Social Policy in Europe. In: Baehler, Karen J. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Governance and Management for Social Policy. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 659–668.


The Europe section of the handbook provides an overview of welfare system changes in Europe till early 2020. The European region is of strong interest globally as a number of European countries were early pioneers in developing the modern welfare state after the model was introduced in Germany and the United Kingdom. Moreover, the European Union has played a vital role in shaping the administrative space for social policy in and beyond the region for many decades. As the chapters in this section highlight, there is not one Europe but many when it comes to welfare systems, social policy, and the public administrative systems into which welfare programs and other arrangements are embedded. The argument that context matters in public policy and management is reinforced throughout the section as the chapter authors review the key transformations that have defined welfare governance, management, and policy over time in Europe.
This overview chapter introduces the other chapters and highlights the value of applying historical analysis to illuminate the variety of change trajectories across European welfare states alongside important global influences, including the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the trend toward redefining welfare professions and the nature of social work in line with the notion of whistleblowers.

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