The ESA Research Network Sociology of Social Policy and Social Welfare (RN26) invites network members and other sociologists/social scientists interested in the topic to submit abstracts to our midterm conference, taking place on October 4-5 in Catania, Italy. The event is hosted by the University of Catania, represented by Prof. Teresa Consoli. We are very happy to welcome Prof. Anneli Anttonen (University of Tampere) for the key note.

During the last three decades, welfare services have been subject to considerable change throughout Europe. Despite many differences between countries and welfare regimes, we can also find some common developments. A wide literature deals with such trends, e.g. focussing on (re)privatization, (de)professionalization, a disengagement of the state, provider (re)mixes or new ways of addressing users (investment, empowerment etc.). Extant research comprises (macro) views on institutional regulation, (meso) accounts of organizational governance or (micro) perspectives on dynamics of interaction between users and professionals. Our idea is to bring together these different levels of research, with a special focus on forms of intertwinement between institutions, organizations, professions and users. This opens the floor for various questions: How does (state) bureaucracy relate to professional mandates? How do organizational missions shift under conditions of austerity and provider competition? And finally, amongst all these driving forces: Where are the service users? These are just a few examples for questions that could be dealt with at the mid-term conference.

The research network invites papers addressing theoretical perspectives on and/or empirical studies related to the afore-sketched theme. By looking at commonalities and differences across various national and cultural contexts, the proceedings of this mid-term conference are aimed at shedding light on new worlds of welfare services, with an eye on organizations (private businesses, public and non-profit agencies), social professions, evolving institutional frameworks and – last but not least – user perspectives. Thereby, we hope to provide a fresh impulse to the analysis of contemporary welfare services.

Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. They will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the network coordinators (see below). Any papers related to the aforementioned topic are welcome. An e-mail of notification will be sent to the presenting authors during June 2016. To allow for peer comments, a full version of the paper should be submitted for distribution by the end of September. We encourage especially early career scholars to take part. The latter may get some of their expenses refunded by sending a short application to jbr [at] prior to the conference.

Abstract Submission Deadline: June 15, 2018.
Abstracts should be submitted be e-mail to the coordinators of RN26:
Prof. Janne Paulsen Breimo, Nord University, Norway, jbr [at] () (chair)
Dr. Hannu Turba, University of Kassel, Germany, ibode [at] () (vice-chair)

Download Conference Programme

More info on