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Anna Korhonen
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Location & Connections

 

Visiting Fellows 2015-2016

Terry Cox, University of Glasgow, UK  

”Is there a new postsocialist welfare regime? Social security and insecurity in Central and Eastern Europe”
(September 2015, May 2016)


Biography:
Terry Cox is Professor of Central and East European Studies at the University of
Glasgow, UK and editor of the journal Europe-Asia Studies. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in the UK and a Past-President of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies. His research interests are in the political sociology of post-socialist transformations. He is currently working on comparative projects on social security and insecurity in East Central Europe, and on interest representation in Central and Eastern Europe. His recent publications include edited books Challenging Communism in Eastern Europe: 1956 and its Legacy (2008), Reinventing Poland: Economic and Political Transformation and Changing National Identity (2008 with Martin Myant), Reflections on 1989 in Eastern Europe (2012), and Civil Society and Social Capital in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (2014), as well as articles in Perspectives on European Politics and Societies and the Journal of Agrarian Change.


Short description of ongoing research:
As part of the economic and social transformation in the region since 1989 the provision of welfare and access to it by different social groups has undergone significant changes. While pensions and social security systems have been reformed and new forms of unemployment benefits and welfare assistance schemes have been introduced, the overall outcome has been a decrease in the extent of universal state welfare provision, an increasing reliance on welfare assistance benefits that are generally not provided at levels above the poverty threshold, and in provision by non-state institutions and groups in civil society, and informal support through communities, families and households. Consequently there have been growing inequalities in access to welfare.
Taking these changes into account, there has been a growing literature aimed at developing a new conceptualisation of the emerging welfare regime(s) in the region that goes beyond existing ideal types of welfare. A central concern in this literature has been to assess the relevance to CEE of the ideal types of welfare regime developed by Esping Andersen for the OECD old member countries and the adaptations and supplementary types introduced by scholars subsequently. A debate has emerged on the question of whether the existing ideal types apply to the current situation in the CEE countries or whether a new postsocialist welfare regime, or a range of different postsocialist welfare regimes have emerged. Key contributions to the debate have been made for example by Bohle & Greskovits, Cerami, Fenger, Ferge, Hay & Wincott, Inglot, Myant& Drahokoupil and Vanhuysee.
Within this framework the objectives of the project will be: 1) To describe the changing structure and characteristics of welfare provision and access to welfare in the region; 2) To identify the key criteria and processes which determine access to welfare and secure livelihoods for various social groups; 3) To explore the question of whether the emerging patterns of provision can be characterized in terms of the concept of a new post-socialist type of welfare regime.
During my fellowship, in consultation with my research partner, Prof. Julia Szalai of CEU Budapest, I will engage with a comprehensive review of the existing literature on the provision of social security and the sources of social insecurity in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) since 1989, and with a critical examination of existing theories and concepts of welfare regimes – and assess their ability to explain the emerging situation in Central and Eastern Europe. I will also design an empirical research project to further explore questions of social security and insecurity and the character of welfare regime(s) in CEE countries. This will involve examining existing comparative statistical data sets and literature on poverty and insecurity to identify patterns of provision of both state and non-state welfare; deciding which selection of countries to focus on  in order to best capture the range of characteristics across the CEE region; and designing new primary research on the social situation of those social groups that are dependent on local government or non-state sources of social assistance and welfare that are administered at local level and often by charities, NGOs and churches, or that are accessed through networks of community and familial support.

Email: terry.cox [at] glasgow.ac.uk

Academic hosts at the Aleksanteri Institute: Meri Kulmala and Jouko Nikula