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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The first half of the twentieth century witnessed the dramatic emergence of modern welfare states across Europe. Why did this transformation take form? Was this process uniform across Europe? And what did it mean for relations between individuals and states? This chapter suggests that European social policies in the early twentieth century were characterized by an emphasis on integration and community. This perspective chimed with widespread utopian aspirations for social improvement voiced across the political spectrum and across the Continent. Nonetheless, the relative emphasis on integration and community varied across Europe and over time. Moreover, associated quests for an ideal future held the potential to be both enabling and oppressive. This chapter highlights two related themes that reveal these complexities: work and population politics. It charts developments in social legislation across Europe, including eugenics, labour, and family policies, and it traces the impact of transnational reform movements and international organizations.

Keywords: welfare state, social policy, eugenics, labour, family, Europe, twentieth century

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