Doctrine and Discipline: A Genealogy of the Religious Voluntary Roots of Danish Welfare

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    The paper argues that in order to understand central aspects of modern welfare, it is important to pay attention to not only to state and secular politics, but also the religious civil society, and not only the Protestant Ethics of the large confessions (Calvinist, Lutheran, Catholic), but also the later 18 th and especially 19 th century developments in (Protestant) doctrines. It is argued that the revival and Holiness movements originating in these centuries have provided important contributions to voluntary social work in terms of 1) ideological legitimation, 2) models for institutions related to treatment, 3) organizational frameworks, and 4) cultural models for doing social work and for moral self‐ improvement. Turning to the Danish case, the paper further argues that due to Danish Protestantism’s tradition for leaving welfare to the state and concentrating on faith alone, the Danish revivalist movement never developed a language for voluntary social work. When circles related to the Home Mission engaged in voluntary social work at the end of the 19th century, this work was stifled by the national Home Mission. Here, however, the international contributions mentioned above provided cultural and institutional forms within which to carry out the social work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2015
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event40th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association: Pluralism and Community: Social Science History Perspectives - Baltimore, MD, United States
    Duration: 12 Nov 201515 Nov 2015
    Conference number: 40


    Conference40th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityBaltimore, MD
    Internet address

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