Anna K. Skarpelis
Research interests: Comparative welfare states, Japan, Western Europe, social history, intellectual history, social media, science and technology studies
Working title: War and the Welfare State
Various factors have been understood to affect the development and expansion of the welfare state: working class strength and cross-class coalitions (e.g. (Baldwin 1990; Korpi 2003)), institutional determinants (Pontusson 2005) or electoral systems (Estevez-Abe 2008). Despite being widely discussed in the historical literature to explain the expansion of state institutions and control over the economy (Gorski 2011; Mann 1993; Tilly 1992), welfare state scholars yet have to systematically ask what effect wars and mobilization for wars have on social welfare policies. Various authors point at the potential payoff of this line of inquiry, yet none of them explore it in depth (Kasza 2002; Klausen 1998; Skocpol 1992). Similarly, the impact of dramatic shifts associated with the rise of authoritarianism in the long-run growth of state institutions and social welfare policies has largely escaped the attention of welfare state scholars.
My dissertation addresses this disconnect between the role the historical and social science literature has attributed to the importance of war in shaping the state and social policy by examining how the experience of both total war and the rise of authoritarian regimes impacted welfare state institutions in Japan and Germany. Both Japan and Germany went through over a decade of authoritarian government and experienced massive mobilization of the civilian population for purposes of total war. I will argue that total war as opposed to other forms of war, warrants an in-depth concern with the state’s attempts at regulating social policy, as the targets of social policy – civilians – become a strategic resource for war preparation and success.