Who cares (about)? How welfare capitalists, churches and migrants change the care of children and elders in Sweden, Germany and Italy

In Sweden, Germany and Italy welfarecapitalists, churches and migrants have been given the responsibility for health and social care. How did this happen and why?

There has been a redistribution of responsibility of health- and social care in many welfare states in western Europe. In Sweden, welfare entrepreneurs are expanding due to privatization. In Germany, the church has been given a central role in the healthcare system and in Italy, migrants care for elders and children. This is counterintuitive. Why has Sweden, with its long history of public health care, made it possible for for-profit healthcare suppliers to expand? Why do Germany, a secularized society, turn to faith-based suppliers to fill the healthcare gap? And why do Italy, with very little experience from integration and a growing skepticism to immigration among the population, create a healthcare system based on migrants? 

Established theories within welfare research can´t describe this variation. The aim of this project is to test a theory about “healthcare cultures”. We will do that by analyzing how ideals about health and social care are produced in magazines and brochures about health and social care from public authorities between 1980 and 2020 in Sweden, Germany and Italy. The impact these ideals have on the changes in healthcare will be tracked by 60 interviews and a systematic analysis of political documents.




Principal Investigator

Josef Hien Researcher in political science