In the wake of the Greek and Irish crises, and at a moment when solidarity between states is hotly debated on a daily basis at EU level, it is important to understand how ‘solidarity’ can happen at all. The Road to Social Europe reviews the development of political cultural processes since the nineteenth century, showing how social protection and social justice have gradually become interwoven with systems of social protection, or welfare states.
Grounded on extensive empirical research conducted in many EU countries and in the European Commission’s administration over twenty years, the book provides a cultural analysis of welfare systems in Europe. It also presents an original enquiry into the importance of languages for politics in Europe, for the politics of welfare, and for sociological research. It shows how sociological and ethnographic analysis can help in understanding the current and future challenges of European integration that rely unilaterally on functional economics.
This in-depth sociological analysis of European diversity will appeal to a wide audience of students and scholars of sociology, political science, political economy and European studies.
Jean-Claude Barbier is CNRS Research Director at Paris1 Panteon-Sorbonne University, France. His research interests include European integration, EU social policy, and employment policies in Europe and the USA.