Sociology and Social Anthropology Seminar Series - The Quest for a Divided Welfare State: Sweden in the Era of Privatization
John Lapidus, Researcher, University of Gothenburg
John Lapidus presents his book "The Quest for a Divided Welfare State in Sweden". The book's prime example is the rapid rise of private health insurance, which now constitutes a parallel system characterized by state subsidies for some and not for others. This functions as a kind of reverse means-testing, whereby primarily the upper classes get state support for new types of welfare consumption. In his book he explains how such a parallel system requires not only direct and statutory state support but also indirect support, for example, from infrastructure built for the public health system. He examines how semi-private welfare funding is dependent on private provision and how the so-called 'hidden welfare state' gradually erodes the visible and former universal welfare state model, in direct contrast to its own stated goals.
John Lapidus got his PhD in 2015 at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and since then has been involved in a research project funded by the Torsten Söderberg Foundation. Before his academic career, Lapidus was involved in international cooperation, including working as the head of a small Swedish NGO in Nicaragua between 2006 and 2008. He has written two novels about his experiences in Zimbabwe and Nicaragua, and also worked as a journalist for several years.