ESPAnet Annual Conference 2024

Photo credit: City of Tampere, Laura Vanzo

Tampere, Finland 28th - 30th August, 2024

Welcome to the website of the 22nd ESPAnet Annual Conference! This year’s conference is hosted by Tampere University.

The venue for the conference is the city centre campus of Tampere University, Main Building (address Kalevantie 4, Tampere).

The conference will take place exclusively on site.

The theme of the conference

Public values of the welfare state to manage sustainable welfare and wellbeing

Anchored around public values of solidarity, equality, trust and legitimacy, welfare states have long had the goal to protect citizens against social risks and safeguard an accepted level of welfare and wellbeing to the defined deserving groups in a country. Welfare states have already weathered many storms, such as the oil crisis in the 1970s, global financial crisis in the 2010s, and recently the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. At the same time, welfare states have for decades already adjusted to more gradual changes such as globalization, population ageing, rising inequality, changing labour market and family roles.

In the current era, the political priorities of the welfare states steer attention from the traditional social policy areas to new areas, as welfare states need to respond to digital transformation, large scale migration, and the necessity to mitigate and adjust to climate change. These tumultuous events altogether have drastically changed the economic, social, and political landscape where the welfare states develop. This new era gives rise to new public values that fundamentally will determine how welfare states develop in the future. In recent decades, we have witnessed e.g., rise of managerial ideals around efficiency and performance, changing nature of social citizenship towards more self-reliance, turn to nationalization and securitization, and the replacement of state authority with new forms of collaborative governance. Welfare states in the 21st century are seeking a new balance to find ways to manage sustainable welfare and wellbeing and adhere to public values that are compatible with changing world without leaving marginalized groups behind. The 22nd ESPAnet Annual Conference will take part in the academic discussion of the transformation of the public values of welfare states and brings together the community of social policy and welfare state researchers in Europe and beyond to discuss the state-of-art of social policy research.