Historical Welfare Regimes

Motivated by the comparative historical analysis of welfare regimes in the wake of state-socialism, this essay elaborates concepts and theoretical methods for analysis of welfare regimes across a variety of historical settings. Informed by a critical reading of older and more recent literature on welfare regimes, and drawing on the legacy of classical political economy and relevant streams of contemporary social theory, the essay puts forward an analytic strategy that calls attention to historical variation in modalities of social, political, and economic integration under state-socialism and market-Leninism and their implications for welfare, insecurity, and social stratification. The essay illustrates the value of the historical welfare regimes through an analysis of historical and regional variation in the principles and institutions governing wellbeing and stratification in Viet Nam. The paper aims to restore the theoretical ambition that characterized earlier studies of welfare regimes (with their emphasis on political-class coalitions and cultures) while building upon recent conceptual innovations in the analysis of welfare regimes.

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