Welfare State Workshop

In the post-war era, the concept of the ‘welfare state’ had a remarkable importance in both the domestic and international context. State authorities across the world explored its potential to ensure the legitimacy of their decisions at home, to pursue their international ambitions, or to fight in the global ‘welfare race’– which state or system of states could provide the best welfare?

This workshop explores a variety of approaches that framed the understanding of the concept of welfare state beyond the capitalist context. In particular, it considers how different ideas of a welfare state were conceptualised and manifested through policies, infrastructure development and various means of communication and expression – media broadcasting, exhibitions, and publications.

Composed of short presentations in a roundtable format, the workshop is designed to foster interdisciplinary debate around issues such as welfare projects developed within the framework of international organisations; transsystemic influences, exports and exchanges of welfare state concepts and policies; material aspect of welfare; the ideological foundations and the rhetoric of welfare states; the relationship between national identity and the welfare.

Convened by Kasia Jeżowska and Alessandro Iandolo.

Supported by University of New South Wales Faculty Research Grant and Centre for International Studies Networking Grant, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.


9.30–10.00: Coffee and opening remarks

10.00–12.00: Living standards
Chair: Celia Donert (Cambridge)
Michał Murawski (UCL) and Markus Lähteenmäki (ETH): Blagoustroistvo: Urban Infrastructure and the Construction of Welfare in (Post-) Soviet Moscow, 1917-2019
Katrin Schreiter (King’s): Conservative modernity in the materiality of Cold War German housing policy
Vladimir Unkovski-Korica (Glasgow): Bev-Marck, Bis-eridge or Bevc-Marx? The Yugoslav Welfare State 1945-1992

12.00–1.45: Internationalising the welfare project
Chair: Paul Betts (Oxford)
Lyubi Spaskovska (Exeter): Constructing the ‘City of International Solidarity’: The United Nations and Visions of Developmental and Welfare-State Modernism, 1955–1975
Kasia Jeżowska (UNSW): Social design for the welfare state: Poland at the International Labour Exhibition in Turin, 1961
David Brydan (King’s): Franco’s ‘Social State’: Spain, Authoritarian Welfare and International Cooperation in the Mid-20th Century

1.45–2.45: Lunch

2.45–4.30: The new order
Chair: Alessandro Iandolo (Oxford)
Łukasz Stanek (Manchester): Housing in independent Ghana across Cold War divisions (1957-66)
Charlotte Riley (Southampton): The Socialist Imagination: Welfare, the World and the Future
Simon Toner (Sheffield): War and Welfare in the Republic of Vietnam, 1965-1975

4.30–5.00: Round table