Welfare Lessons from East to West
A number of important lessons can be gained from the history of Hungarian welfare. This chapter draws attention to some of these lessons, which have been excavated in the rush to compensate for Hungary's fifty years of exclusion. Two dialogues have been maintained in the context of a half century of the country's welfare history. The first dialogue challenges scholars of Eastern Europe to reject the over simplistic dichotomy between the socialist past and the capitalist present. The second dialogue extends beyond the East European context to offer broader lessons and insights that can inform Western welfare state theory and politics. This comparative analysis provides a conceptual feminist lesson about how different states regulate the social relations of gender and a political lesson about how welfare states can become stigmatizing social spaces. The findings regarding state layering and mutual determination have theoretical significance for Western welfare state scholars. They highlight the importance of examining multiple state realms when analyzing modern welfare systems.
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