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Eco-welfare state in the making: New research agenda


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Professor Liisa Häikiö's presentation from "What Is an Eco-Welfare State" seminar held in Helsinki January 21st 2020. Find out more at

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Eco-welfare state in the making: New research agenda

  1. 1. Eco-welfare state in the making: New research agenda Prof. Liisa Häikiö, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University
  2. 2. ORSI: Towards eco-welfare state. Orchestrating systemic impact SRC: 2019–2022(25) TAU, SYKE, VTT, Aalto We aim to develop steering practices that enable the transformation to a Finnish eco-welfare state with ecologically effective and societally legitimate measures. 1
  3. 3. Major global challenge How meet needs of today without threatening possibilities of meeting the needs in the future? Steering of transformation has failed to guide societies to meet ecological limits in a socially just way. This challenge points especially to affluent western nation states. 2
  4. 4. From welfare state to eco-welfare state Established welfare states need to integrate social policies with environmental policies in new ways to ensure and protect welfare needs of their citizens, global community and future generations. Integration of environmental and social problems and measures means that welfare states evolve into eco-welfare states (Gough 2016). Transformation requires novel understanding on how to organize governance to integrate ecological and social targets in multi-actor and multi-level contexts. 3
  5. 5. Eco-welfare state: A new emerging frame ØA state more actively intervenes to support industrial transformations in relation to climate change ØWelfare states may enable arrangements helping to govern the negative impacts, to reduce carbon emissions and to support innovation ØA need to integrate policies and create policy instruments that serve goals of providing material wellbeing, advancing social justice and meeting planetary boundaries simultaneously 4
  6. 6. An active and interventionist innovative state • Eco-welfare state presents a governance challenge: – conflicting targets on combining effective societal steering – integrated social and environmental policy governance networks – socially just solutions – participation of all • The current societal steering mechanisms with sector-specific measures and targets bound by limited electoral and budgetary terms cannot provide a solution. 5
  7. 7. Eco-welfare state is a societal transition process: Transformation of thinking, institutional practices, and organisational cultures, as well as novel measures to mingle societal activities with ecological limits Societal steering towards an eco-welfare state: Focus on impact-driven governance, orchestrating systemic impacts and normative conceptualizations and ethical practices within these 6
  8. 8. Integration in society and in research Innovation resolves social problems Focus on future matters, not detailed operational principles Multiple paths, not one: path dependencies & contextual factors Transformation is an open- ended process Participation and co-creation as ways of doing things Transition involves losers and winners Power and conflict? 7