A `Social Turn’ in the European Union?: New trends and ideas about social convergence in Europe

1st Edition

Jacek Kubera, Tomasz Morozowski

April 10, 2020 Forthcoming
Reference - 230 Pages
ISBN 9780367409579 - CAT# K450857
Series: Europa Perspectives on the EU Single Market

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An important debate is under way in the European Union (EU) over what should be shared at community level and what should be left to individual nations. Social Europe is a key topic in the construction of the EU and its institutions. This volume examines the current state of, and perspectives for, Social Europe, as well as key issues in European social policy, including the posting of workers, the impact of the free market and regulations on social convergence, work automation, digitalisation, taxation and democracy in the workplace. The aim of this volume is to identify a course to be followed in integrating the EU’s social policies and point to areas in which co-operation between member states is likely to produce best results.

The concept of ‘social turn’ is used as a theoretical tool to describe and explain European policy in the field of social issues, with ‘social turn’ defined as a change in the way of thinking about Social Europe. While a Social Europe was previously seen to be a natural consequence of political and economic integration, it is now viewed as a separate area that requires active policies to preserve the European project. The EU’s big question today concerns the level at which this policy should be pursued: the volume’s contributors outline difficulties with harmonising social policies across the Union, but they nevertheless argue that, owing to the common challenges faced by Europe, the idea of a Social Europe must not be abandoned and requires specific action.

The volume consists of 11 chapters that propose ways in which the idea of ​​a Social Europe can be put into practice. Chapter 1 outlines prospects for developing European social policy: is this idea becoming obsolete, as some argue? The following six chapters discuss areas that require action at both the national and European levels (such as democracy in the workplace, work automation, digitalisation and taxes). Is it possible to work towards common goals across the EU while accounting for the different levels and contexts of its functioning? The next three chapters are authored by representatives of the authorities of the Weimar Triangle states of France, Germany and Poland, and shed light on the views and arguments raised in the debate on the future of Social Europe. The final chapter offers conclusions as well as a thesis whereby, as a result of the ‘social turn’, social policy can no longer be seen as derived from economic policy but rather as a separate driver of development that could be of interest to the northern, southern and eastern states of the EU.

Jacek Kubera, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań.

Tomasz Morozowski, PhD candidate, Faculty of Political Science and Journalism, Adam Mickiewicz University of Poznań, and analyst at the Poznań Institute for Western Affairs.

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