International Research School in Conceptual History and Political Thought

Conceptual History and the Welfare State


Conference, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, September 15-16 2011


The rise of the welfare state is one of the most important novelties in the 20th century. With this conference we intend to explore the possibility of studying the emergence of the welfare state from the perspective of comparative conceptual history. We will adress questions such as: How can we study the relationship between political change and conceptual change from a comparative perspective? What is the history of the concept of ’the welfare state’? And perhaps most important: Does the welfare state have a language of its own?



Jörn Leonhard (University of Freiburg): Approaching a Comparative History of Concepts and Experiences: Theory and Methods

Jeppe Nevers (University of Southern Denmark): Conceptual History and Political History: Theoretical Considerations

Henrik Stenius (University of Helsinki): A Nordic Conceptual Universe

Jørn Henrik Petersen and Klaus Petersen (University of Southern Denmark): The ’Welfare State’: Towards a Comparative Conceptual History

Nils Edling (University of Stockholm): The Struggle over the Welfare State in Sweden, 1940-1970

Michael Kuur Sørensen (University of Southern Denmark): Critics of the Welfare State – Some Danish Examples

Carl Marklund (University of Helsinki): ’Happiness’ in the Political Discourse of the Welfare State

Sissel Bjerrum Fossat (University of Southern Denmark): Concepts of Gender Equality: Towards a Comparative Perspective

Lasse Horne Kjældgaard (University of Copenhagen): TBA – on the literary experience of the welfare state

Anita Nell Albrechtsen (University of Southern Denmark): ’Social Cohesion’ in Politics and Literature of the Welfare State