Starting from the early 1970s, a radical transformation of the structures and ideological foundations of the welfare state has taken place in European countries. This process has gone hand in hand with the crisis of the fordist model of production and society. That process has led, in the 1980s, to the configuration of a radically new discursive order, which has redefined the modalities and structures of state intervention (fragmentation, selectivity, efficiency) and prompted the development of new knowledges and professional profiles in the field of social policies. The shift from the old to the new order appears to be characterized by the drastic shrinking of state intervention, the rationalization of public activities and services, the transition from the system of government to that of governance and the tightening of spending cuts. Moreover, the retrenchment of the state from the social sphere has brought about the shift from a logic of intervention to one of mere procedural regulation and led to the increasing responsibilization of individuals. This “de-monopolization” of the state aspires to include civil society in the management of public affairs and stimulate citizens’ participation in the exercise of democracy. As a consequence of this process, local political institutions have been given a wide range of responsibilities in the field of social policies, while citizens’ participation has been shaped by different forms of associations, which tend to operate on a local base. In this context, the principle of solidarity connected to the “social insurance” of the welfare system, has given way to the privatization of risk management. These dynamics have set off a process of increasing devolution of social services to private actors and triggered a progressive reconfiguration of social professions, technical knowledges, expertise’s and social interventions on a local scale. Building on these premises, the journal aims to stimulate an interdisciplinary debate on the processes of redefinition of the welfare system in relation to new forms of social services, modern practices of governance and the management of the economic crisis. Moreover, it aims at exploring the ways in which these processes might produce new social inequalities and extreme forms of precarity in the domain the social professions.

The focus of the next issue is the transformation of the welfare system and private intervention in South Italy.

In the context of the redefinition of the welfare system, the state acquires a role of “facilitator” or “negotiator” of certain processes, while a plurality of actors - both public (local political and administrative institutions) and private (agencies operating on the basis of mandates and agreements) or “third sector” (voluntary and no-profit organizations) - are deputed to actually implement social services. Furthermore, in the late 1980s, the development of a new idea of governance starts questioning the legitimacy of some practices of management of the public administration and the underpinning “culture”. This new idea contemplates the necessity of extending the principles and techniques of private management to social intervention, as the only way to promote social innovation and administrative efficiency. Hence, the universalistic approach connected to the classic welfare is abandoned in favour of an increasing attention to the principles of operational effectiveness and measurability of results in terms of performance.

Starting from these assumptions, the topics of theoretical and empirical researches are:

  • The production of new forms of social services;
  • The development of new subjects of power in the social sphere and the articulation of formal and informal economic processes in the management of social services;
  • The modern processes of selection of service users in relation to spending cuts and individual responsibility.


How to submit your paper

  • Abstracts are due to the scientific committee by December 15th 2017, in Italian or English. Abstracts have to be sent only by e-mail, to the following address:

The abstracts should contain:
·      Topic and Keywords (max 5)
·      Text (max 500 words), including bibliography


  • Papers are due to the scientific committee by January 15th 2018, in Italian or English. Papers have to be sent only by e-mail, to the following address:

Length of paper: from 30.000 to 50.000 characters (references and spaces included)

Author's Guidelines: