The theme of the conference
Challenges for the welfare state in turbulent times
Rapid technological change, rising environmental risks and armed conflicts are reshaping the European economies and transforming the demographic landscape of Europe, posing new challenges for the welfare state. The worlds of work and education underwent substantial transformation in the last decades and therefore, the conditions in which Europeans acquire education, pursue economic activity and form families have changed drastically. Development of digital technologies and their recent accelerated use during the Covid-19 pandemic, have enabled remote work and education, which allows for a better integration of persons with care responsibilities in our society, but may also cause social isolation and contribute to new inequalities; both of which create a need for a rapid policy response.
European societies are also constantly confronted with migration pressures from countries facing the most acute consequences of global warming and areas hit by armed conflict – of which one currently takes place also in one of the European countries – Ukraine. Although the inflow of migrants may be a remedy for the labour market shortages in the rapidly ageing European countries it requires a comprehensive response from the welfare state. Both Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have seriously affected the economic well-being of Europeans as well as their physical and mental health. All this requires academic research and debate on how to address these complex challenges in an efficient and sustainable way. The 21st ESPAnet Annual Conference will aim to address these, as well as other issues that are currently researched and discussed within the community of social policy and welfare state researchers in Europe and beyond.
We look forward to seeing you in Warsaw soon!