"Welfare Mix, Hybridity and Government-Nonprofit Relationships in Post-Modern Welfare States", 21-22 mars 2014, Copenhague

Voluntas conference and special issue: "Welfare Mix, Hybridity and Government–Nonprofit Relationships in Post-Modern Welfare States” March 21st and 22nd 2014. Copenhagen, Denmark

In recent years, mature welfare states have undergone significant changes and processes of restructuring. Without any doubt, the "new world of welfare” has also had a significant impact on government – nonprofit relationships, particularly in those areas where nonprofits always had an important role in the provision of social and welfare related services. Although social services have not been in the focus of welfare state research for years, they lately – due to changes of demographics and gender roles – have gained increased importance, since they constitute core elements of the basic orientation of post-modern welfare states.

Today, the compromise between capital and labor, which was at the heart of welfare state development at the turn of the 19th century, has been complemented by, among other things, a new compromise that addresses the reconciliation of caring and family work with the necessities of professional life, in particular of women. Indeed, women no longer perceive themselves as those who are first and foremost responsible for the well-being of the family in terms of rearing children and taking care of the elderly. The integration of women into the labor market and hence the needs of working women have triggered a growing industry of care provision. The organizations, responsible for service provision in post-modern welfare states are nonprofit-, public - or commercial organizations depending on the welfare tradition as well as on the legacy of nonprofit-government relationships in the respective country.

Furthermore, the recent economic and demographic changes in Europe and the US have put significant pressure on the welfare states in terms of finance, redistribution and provision of services. Across welfare regime types, governments are looking for new and innovative solutions that can ease the pressure on public spending.

In some cases these developments have led to a relative decline in the direct public provision of social services whereas nonprofit as well as commercial for-profit provision has been on the increase. Furthermore, this new dynamic of the welfare mix has added a layer of complexity to the formal and informal regulatory framework that guided the relationship between public and private providers within different welfare regimes. Today it has become more difficult to distinguish between specific "models” with respect to both nonprofit-government relationships and the provision of social and health- related services.

This conference, organized by Voluntas with the aim of bringing together scholars who are interested in the stock-taking of both current welfare state changes and the re-structuring of nonprofit-government relationships in welfare-related areas of social and health services, will serve as a forum of discussion of the topic of how post-modern welfare states, with a special eye on the European context, are in the process of reshaping and re-arranging nonprofit-government relationships in the service-related core areas of welfare state activity. Do governments increasingly kick nonprofits out of the game of the new market of social service delivery? Or on the contrary, does the organizational form no longer play a role for governments in decisions on resource allocation? Does it no longer matter whether the "partner” in social service provision or third-party government is a nonprofit or a commercial organization? If this is the case, what does this mean for nonprofit providers? Do they give up their mission and identify while they are struggling for survival? Do they simply copy the organizational culture of their competitors? Or are they still different, distinctive and special compared with their competitors, the commercial providers? Are mixed, hybrid sectoral models becoming more common?

We invite submissions of papers from scholars and PhD-students who focus on one of the following topics (either alone or in combination):

- What role do nonprofit organizations play with respect to the reconciliation of work and family?

- Whether, to what extent, and how have recent changes of the welfare state arrangements significantly challenged longstanding nonprofit-government relationships?

- Does the new arrangement pose a threat to: a) the traditional culture of the respective society within specific social policy domains; b) nonprofit-government relationships; and c) the role and mission of nonprofits engaged in social service provision?

- What role does local government play, and how are local welfare arrangements shaped by new divisions of labor between public, for-profit, and nonprofit providers?

- What role does the use of volunteers play in the restructuring of welfare services and how are the uses of volunteers reconciled (if at all) against the traditional strongholds held by professional occupations?

- Are labour market active women benefitting from the new arrangements?

- And who are the "losers” who are not at all benefitting from the changed world of welfare and social service delivery?

- To what extent are new service models characterized by New Public Management (NPM)-type performance regimes?

 Against the background of Voluntas, comparative papers (for instance comparing a specific service area in several countries, or comparing different service areas across sectors in one or two countries) are highly welcomed. The same holds true for the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Each approach is very valuable as are mixed methods approaches. We invite scholars from various disciplines to apply since we believe that the changes in welfare states have already turned into one of the most important drivers of change with respect to the nonprofit sector worldwide and in each country. We also believe that the change of gender roles constitutes a societal development that will, indeed, trigger a wave of "change” with respect to the nonprofit sector that could be more profound than any other development regarding gender roles and the nonprofit sector since the late 19th century.

Practical information

Place: Copenhagen, Denmark.

Time: March 21st and 22nd, 2014

We will have room for a limited number of papers (about 12). Paper presenters will be selected on the basis of a review of an extended abstract of 800 – 1200 words.

Deadline for the extended abstract is December 1st 2013. Abstracts should be submitted to: larsskov@socsci.aau.dk – marked "Voluntas proposal” in subject field.

 Invited presenters will be notified by January 1st 2014. Conference fee and food, including dinner, is free for invited presenters, but travel and accommodation is at participants’ own expense. Ph.D.-students who present paper will earn 4 ECTS points.

The aim of the conference is a special issue of Volutas featuring 6 – 8 articles. Potential articles for the special issue will be subject to the normal review process of the journal after the conference.