Welfare Policies, Religious Commitment, and Happiness

  • Thorleif Pettersson
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


The relationship between an expanding welfare state and its citizens’ participation in voluntary organizations, including the churches, can be interpreted in different ways. Some assume a negative relationship, so that the expanding welfare state generates civil privatism or narcissism, and individuals become increasingly removed from the public sphere and from voluntary organizations. Others depict the welfare state as encouraging participation in voluntary organizations. Since voluntary associations are considered necessary channels for the implementation of state policies, the welfare state is expected to promote strong and active voluntary organizations; others have linked the welfare state’s expansion to the rise of new social movements. These movements, especially feminism, and the ecological and peace movements, are assumed to emerge in response to an unprecedented state penetration into many spheres of private life (for a review with special regard for religious organizations, see Wuthnow & Nass, 1988).


Welfare State Religious Organization Religious Involvement Voluntary Organization Welfare Policy 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1994

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  • Thorleif Pettersson

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