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Nordic Russian and Eastern European Studies Conference
Intentions, Interactions and Paradoxes in Post-Socialist Space
24-25 May 2013 in Helsinki, Finland

Abstracts

Financial crisis and paradoxes of welfare (re)distribution
Chair: Zhanna Kravchenko (Södertörn University, Sweden)
Discussant: Jouko Nikula (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland)
Lisa Kings (Södertörn University, Sweden): Environment and globalization: New challenges for the Swedish welfare state
Iveta Jurkane
(Södertörn University, Sweden): Welfare state – a private matter? The case of housing policy in post-soviet Latvia
Alexandra Dmitrieva (St Petersburg State University, Russia): Social exclusion/inclusion as a factor of social structuration in Russia
Adria Alcoverro (Södertörn University, Sweden): Unemployed youth and labor market in Estonia in the context of crisis

The main aim of the panel is to map the topography of welfare (re)distribution in various sectors of public policies and re-examine the relationship between state, market, and individual/family determined by the pressures imposed by the recent financial crisis in the Baltic Sea Region. By examining new pathways in conceptualising welfare and re-evaluating classical theoretical approaches to social policy research the panel’s contributions will specifically focus on: (1) exploring the interplay between the institutional settings, including short-term and long-term measures, and direct and indirect outcomes, and (2) examining the volatile welfare policy configurations and common patterns of transformation embedded in diverse areas of welfare provision.
It is a specific objective of the panel to ensure cross-national variation of the presentations. The proposed papers address issues that usually land outside the conventional welfare state studies: housing policy in Latvia, climate/energy policy in Sweden and law-enforcement in Russia. Through a coherent theoretical framework of welfare studies, the panel’s contributions will provide place (1) a historical overview of each selected sector, specifically with relation to previous significant socio-economic, political, ideological transformations, in order to place the current crisis in a broader context of institutional change and (2) reflect upon the transformation of the particular national policy sector in relation to various scales of analysis, including local, regional, international and global processes.
Welfare state – a private matter? The case of housing policy in post-soviet Latvia. The focus of this paper is on how the expectations on a new epoch after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s are reflected in the Latvian welfare system. More specifically, the aim is to shed light on the change from collective principles of redistribution to more individual principles and its consequences of housing in post-Soviet Latvia after the financial crises that burst out in year 2008. The paper is presented by Iveta Jurkane, PhD student, BEEGS, Södertörns högskola/Uppsala University.
Environment and globalization: New challenges for the Swedish welfare state. The paper aims to: analyze the role of climate change reduction, energy transformation in relation to globalization and intensified supranational cooperation in the mature but changing Swedish welfare state. It also sheds light on the restructuring of the Swedish welfare state in relation to the development in, and the cooperation with, the post-soviet states around the Baltic Sea and discusses the implications and possible alteration of the development of the Swedish welfare state into a green state. The paper is presented by Dr. Lisa Kings, Södertörns högskola.
Social exclusion/inclusion as a factor of social structuration in Russia. The paper draws on policies and practices of social inclusion and exclusion embedded in the Russian welfare state with a particular attention to recent processes in legal regulation of (recreational) drug use and their relation to the financial turmoil. While the concepts of traditional welfare research (such as (de)commodification, stratification, social consensus and class conflict, etc.) are rarely found in discussions on law-enforcement and security, they become useful in understanding redistribution of social risks, usually attributed primarily to state responsibility, in a neoliberal context. The paper is presented by Dr. Alexandra Dmitrieva, St Petersburg State University
Unemployed youth and labor market in Estonia in the context of crisis. Estonian labor market is one of the most flexible in the world and has been praised for its capacity to adapt to the changing conditions of present day capitalism. Nevertheless, the current economic crisis has affected young and educated labor force in Estonia, a segment of labor market that was highly favored in the recent past. In this paper we will focus on young graduates to understand how they deal with the changing labor market conditions and the prevalence of neoliberal ideas. Several of them, whereas believing on neoliberal ideology and trying to behave according to its ideals, have encountered problems in labor market. Using the concepts of risk society and precariat we attempt to understand how these questions are solved and how youngsters negotiate their identity in these changing conditions. The paper is presented by Adria Alcoverro, PhD student, PESO area studies, Södertörns högskola.