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The Political Sociology of the Welfare StateInstitutions, Social Cleavages, and Orientations$
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Stefan Svallfors

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804754354

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804754354.001.0001

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Class Conflicts and Institutional Feedback Effects in Liberal and Social Democratic Welfare Regimes

Class Conflicts and Institutional Feedback Effects in Liberal and Social Democratic Welfare Regimes

Attitudes toward State Redistribution and Welfare Policy in Six Western Countries

(p.30) Chapter Two Class Conflicts and Institutional Feedback Effects in Liberal and Social Democratic Welfare Regimes
The Political Sociology of the Welfare State

Jonas Edlund

Stanford University Press

This chapter explores an important issue within political sociology: the role of institutions and political articulation in establishing a connection between class and its attitudinal correlates. It challenges the argument that the magnitude of class conflicts will differ across countries, and instead offers an alternative hypothesis suggesting that class conflicts will be more pronounced in the social democratic welfare regime than in the liberal welfare regime. The chapter contends that a more fruitful understanding of institutional feedback effects should focus on other measures of welfare state performance, such as the profile of risk-reduction in social spending priorities or income redistribution via taxes and transfers. In support of this alternative hypothesis, it compares six Western countries—Canada, United States, Sweden, Norway, Australia, and New Zealand—in terms of social stratification and social policy, as well as attitudes to welfare policy and redistribution. The chapter demonstrates that preferences regarding welfare state and redistributive politics are more linked to social class and class identity in the social democratic regimes than in the liberal regimes.

Keywords:   political articulation, social class, class conflicts, institutional feedback effects, welfare state, social policy, social stratification, class identity, income redistribution, welfare policy

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