WORKING GROUP 2 (WG2): THE MIXED ECONOMY OF WELFARE
WG2 focuses on the interaction between the public and voluntary sectors in the field of social welfare at the local, national and international level. The WG calls into question still widespread historical narratives that consider the role of the voluntary sector merely as a prior step in the development of the welfare state. WG2 focuses instead on the continuous entanglement and interdependence of public and private domains in the construction of national welfare systems since the mid-19th century. This working group defines various patterns of public-voluntary sector interactions in the field of social welfare. Through empirical cases the working group analyses how the public and voluntary sectors collaborate and compete with each other for resources, control and responsibility. The interaction between public and voluntary sectors is treated as a dynamic process that leads to the emergence of new institutions. The working group asks whether this interaction results in the creation of hybrid welfare structures where the lines between public and voluntary sectors are blurred or clear cut, and asks in which cases (and why) these connections give rise to a “mixed economy of welfare” based on official partnerships. Finally, the WG works at the crossroads of biography and institution, mapping the trajectories of individuals like Abbé Pierre (Les Compagnons d’Emmaüs) or Celia John (Save the Children) through both public and voluntary sectors and identifying patterns and strategies behind this transversal activism.