Welcome to the homepage of ESPAnet

The Network for European Social Policy Analysis is an association of academics involved or interested in the analysis of social policy in Europe.

The Network encourages and fosters a multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of European social policy. It is therefore open to people from a range of disciplines, including social policy, sociology, political science, international relations, history, law and economics.

It draws its membership from and defines its remit in relation to countries spanning the European continent, welcoming analysts from western, central and eastern European countries.

Selected News

5th ESPAnet Spain Annual Conference: "Inequality and democracy: public policies and social innovation"

5-6 February 2015, Barcelona, Spain, organised by the Institute of Governance and Public Policies (IGOP) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona

Conference Website

13th Annual ESPAnet conference

3-5 September 2015, Odense, Denmark

The lost and new worlds of welfare


Call for paper abstracts

The theme for the ESPAnet 2015 conference in Odense, Denmark is “The lost and new worlds of welfare”. On the one hand, the theme obviously takes inspiration from ‘The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism’, one of the truly seminal works of comparative welfare state research. We will celebrate 25 years of ‘The Three Worlds’ with a dedicated roundtable talk and keynote speech by the author Gøsta Esping-Andersen. On the other hand, the theme captures the thriving field of contemporary welfare state research. We are witnessing a deep transformation of the welfare state, caused by slow-moving socio-structural changes and shifting political ideas as well as by unanticipated events such as the 2008 Financial Crisis and the Euro Crisis.

In the course of this transformation, some of what was taken for granted 25 years ago may have been lost. But other themes have emerged or are still awaiting discovery by social scientists. Priorities are further shifting towards social services, welfare-to-work and policies regulating the interfaces of previously separated programme areas. Social policy in non-OECD regions which used to be the domain of area specialists is entering the realm of mainstream welfare state research. Convergence across many areas and diffusion of practices across borders is also blurring some of the old world distinctions. New actors, from organized consumer groups, through ‘welfare-chauvinist’ parties to financial industry lobbyists, are entering the scene. And micro-level research on public opinion and social structures is being systematically linked to developments at the macro level. The old maps may have become insufficient guides for these new worlds of welfare and the traditional focus on the nation state may be inappropriate for some of the new questions.


Abstracts for papers to be presented should be linked to one of the conference streams which can be found on the conference website (http://www.sdu.dk/espanet2015). Abstracts should be maximum 300 words.

They should also include contact details: author(s), affiliation, postal address, phone number and e-mail address. 

All abstracts should be sent (as word or pdf attachment) to: espanet2015@sdu.dk 

Please do not send abstracts to stream convenors. The deadline for sending abstracts is 10. March 2014. 

All abstracts will be ranked by stream convenors. The conference committee will inform successful applicants by the end of March 2015.

Registration for the 2015 ESPAnet conference starts on 1 March.

On behalf of the organizing committee 

Centre for Welfare State Research,
University of Southern Denmark

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