The Good, the Bad, or the Godless Society? Danish "Church People" and the Modern Welfare State

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This contribution analyzes the views held by Danish and Norwegian church people regarding the welfare state, as expressed in the period when the general debate on the welfare state culminated in both countries. Generally speaking, religion played a relatively limited role in international welfare state research, which can be referred to as blind to religion. Tough socio-economic variables, well-established political actors, and government interests dominate the field. There are examples of religion as one among many variables, but when it has been ascribed explanatory value, it predominantly has been in relation to southern and continental European welfare models, because the focus has been on Catholicism. In recent years, the frequently mentioned cultural turn has made its entrance into comparative welfare research; yet, even then culture and religion are often assigned a modest role in the black box, which is invoked when the harder data are insufficient. Most recently, historians and church historians have launched a discussion on the Lutheran Nordic welfare state, but so far this discussion has not analyzed empirically the role of the church in the golden age of the welfare state. In this article, we go directly to those involved and examine what the church actors really felt about the post-war welfare state.

TidsskriftChurch History
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)904-940
StatusUdgivet - 1. dec. 2013

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