The Dual Transformation of the German Welfare State combines a long-term perspective on social policy development with an innovative theoretical and methodological approach. Peter Bleses and Martin Seeleib-Kaiser analyse the work-welfare nexus of social policy as well as family-oriented policies. In combining these two social policy realms they demonstrate empirically that the conservative German welfare state has undergone a substantial change. Increasingly, the state reduces its social policy commitments towards securing the achieved living standard of former wage earners, which in the past had been the key normative principle of social policy in Germany, while at the same time public support and services for families are expanded. Furthermore, the authors ask how this change can be explained. After discussing the traditional theories explaining welfare state change and continuity, it is argued that the dual transformation of the German welfare state is primarily caused by the emergence of new dominating interpretative patterns. Without an analysis of the political discourse potentially leading to new interpretative patterns, social policy change and continuity cannot be systematically explained.

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