You are here

The welfare-warfare paradigm


Wednesday, 30 October 2019 to Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Total hours: 40
Hours of lectures: 40

Examination procedure

  • Report or seminar




Wars have long constituted a gray zone in the history of the welfare state; the question of the origins and development of social protection systems has primarily been viewed in relation to processes of modernization, or as an instrument for managing social conflict. As some have noted, in mainstream comparative welfare-state literature war is typically considered a rare, anomalous contingency conceptualized as an exogenous shock, an ‘abnormal event,’ a ‘black swan’ emergency or a critical juncture. War has therefore tended to fall outside the scope of research preferred by historians and social scientists, who are interested in tracing general laws and models of welfare-state development and more inclined to hypothesize a sharp trade-off between guns and butter and a negative impact of military conflict on social protection.

A recent literature has instead highlighted the existence of a clear causal link between wars—particularly the total wars of the twentieth century—and the development of modern social protection systems in many contexts both inside and outside of Europe,emphasizing how the two world wars were a crucial catalyst for the creation of the modern welfare state.


Through a comparative analysis, the course aims at discussing the role played by WWI e and WWI in the building and shaping of welfare state.


Educational goals:


Teaching the relationships between conflicts and the developments of welfare states