Civil society and the welfare state in Norway – historical relations and future roles

Civil society and the welfare state in Norway – historical relations and future roles Abstract Recent years have seen an increasing interest in how civil society can contribute to the renewal of welfare states. Civil society and grassroots' initiatives and organizations played a central role in the original establishment of welfare states, but gradually the roles of civil society in welfare decreased. In Norway, there is still a high level of civic participation, but engagement is strong in the fields of culture and leisure, especially in children’s leisure activities in communities. In current public debates in Norway, as in many other European countries, the potential roles of civil society in the welfare state have been high on the agenda. Starting from studies of Norwegian white papers and official reports, in which civil society is increasingly seen as an untapped resource for ideal welfare production, coproduction between sectors, social innovation and entrepreneurship, voluntary sector and advocacy, the article will discuss how key values and practices in community work can add to or challenge this endeavour. The example of Norway is used with some comparative references to other countries. The article highlights not only the economic preconditions for future development for welfare, but also structural preconditions for a renewal of community work and possible new collaborative relations between civil society and the welfare state. Introduction Discussions about the potential of civil society in the renewal of the Norwegian welfare state are not new. In the Scandinavian countries, where the main responsibility for welfare production lies in the public sector, this debate has appeared regularly since the 1970s. The debates have varied in strength; they have had different content and have led to various policy developments. In recent years the EU Commission has focused on the untapped potential (from an economic perspective) of the voluntary sector and highlighted concepts such as cocreation, coproduction, and social innovation. Signals from Europe also effect Norway, as a member of European Economic Area (EEA). Besides economic aspects, attention is also linked to new governance reforms in the public sector with the aim of strengthening the welfare state’s legitimacy and to promote more active citizenship (from a democracy perspective). One of the hallmarks of the Scandinavian social democratic model is a close interaction between public authorities and civil society organizations. Historically, this interaction is characterized by several informal and formal arenas for cooperation and dialogue, e.g. related to health, work life or sports. Numerous councils, boards and committees act as dialogue forums between the State and voluntary organizations, at a national, regional and local level (Trägårdh, 2007). This interaction also effects how civil society is structured. Large and established organizations often reflect public administration structures, including the vertical structure with local, regional and national links, with corresponding meeting points between state and organizations at all levels. A close and consensus-based cooperation between the state and the organizations is thus one of the characteristics of civic forms of participation in northern Europe, commonly referred to as the ‘Nordic membership model’, and the process of how the welfare states developed historically (Seip, 1984, 1991; Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Selle, 2013). This backdrop has a bearing on future roles of civil society in the Scandinavian welfare states. Cultural and historical traditions for civic participation may produce path dependency for the development of future engagement (Martin and Sunley, 2006); i.e. that earlier decisions or circumstances which may not be relevant still influence future development. Community workers in the Scandinavian countries have traditionally had a close relationship to civil society, or third sector, organizations. The empirical material supporting this article is drawn from research on the voluntary sector in Norway (including the author’s), and analysis of the welfare policy as it has emerged in white papers, public reports and parliamentary reports of recent decades. Policy development has been affected by experiences from countries within or outside the EU, which provide a comparison to the Norwegian case. This article discusses the different roles of civil society as a producer of welfare and fulfiller of democratic functions in a process of restructuring the Norwegian welfare state. The discussion centres around four different roles: (i) ideal welfare production, (ii) co-production between sectors, (iii) advocacy, and (iv) social innovation and entrepreneurship. Civil society’s function as welfare producer and democratic engine will be central in the discussion of the different roles. Origins of the relations between state and civil society It is commonplace to make a distinction between civil society’s political and democratic function on the one side, and welfare production on the other (Selle, 1998: 160). The third sector’s role as a producer of welfare services, different from the public sector and the commercial market, refers to services provided by non-profit organizations; e.g. substance use treatment, mental health, elderly care, disability, or child welfare. In such areas, non-profit organizations have played a crucial role in the development of the welfare state and in building institutions such as hospitals, kindergartens and nursing homes. The democratic functions, however, refer to voluntary organizations roles as political agents, influencing opinion, promoting and defending the interests of different social groups, and being a consultation body for the government. Corporatism in the Nordic model, commonly called democratic corporatism, refers to the formal and informal participation of voluntary organizations in governance and decision-making processes (Rokkan, 1970). When voluntary organizations are referred to as an interest organization, it is within this democratic perspective where civil society’s main function is to bring forward needs and demands from the grassroots and up to decision makers. In this bottom-up perspective, civil society also plays an important role as a manager and guardian of social values and therefore also as a socialization arena. Civil society can, thus, be a ‘school in democracy’ (Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Collaboration between civil society and public authorities takes a number of forms which may also vary widely between different municipalities in Norway (Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). In third sector research, it is common to distinguish between funding, service production, and control as different forms of interaction (Selle, 1998). Voluntary organizations may receive public grants for taking a role in the interests of society, e.g. for strengthening recognized social values and outcomes. Through the historical development of this sector in Norway, one finds examples of cooperation between organizations and the gradual developing ‘welfare municipals’ through funding as early as the 1820s (Nagel, 1991). Funding has eventually come in many forms, as public grants, purchase of services, project support or through free rental of public premises. Most of the early voluntary organizations receiving public grants in Norway performed public tasks tied to socialization measures (Raaum, 1988), e.g. for homeless people or people with alcohol-related problems. In producing welfare services, they also played an important role as representatives. Organizations developed a proximity to the groups they worked for (and with) and could thus act as ‘ears and voice’ mutually between the social groups and the authorities. One association receiving grants from the municipalities for this was The Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Det Kongelige Selskab for Norges Vel), founded in 1809. These organizations provided books and facilitated reading groups for the education of peasants. In many local councils, the organizations were considered to contribute to the interests of society, by delivering education or welfare services not otherwise accessible. Municipal councils therefore granted direct financial support (Raaum, 1988: 241). Long before the larger expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s, they functioned as important supplementing service producers. In the development of the ‘welfare municipality’, voluntary organizations functioned as the voice of vulnerable groups, consultation body, service providers as well as agent for governmental control (Nagel, 1991). The relations between civil society and the welfare state were first systematically discussed in Norway in the late 1970s as a specified third sector between the state and the market. The attention toward this sector increased during the 1980s (Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018) due to the global economic recession. In the 1990s interest continued, but now also linked to ideological factors and the emergence of anti-statist attitudes that appeared in the wake of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Emphasis was given to the importance of protecting the autonomy of the third sector, and a focus on its institutional logics, different from, and independent of, both state and market. The new conservative/liberal wave, which in Norway was revealed in the Willoch government in 1981 (The conservative Party of Norway), also drew attention to the fact that both the market and civil society can produce welfare services more cheaply than the public sector. In addition, it was argued that voluntary organizations, with their proximity to different user groups, could capture people’s interests and needs better than the public sector. Civil society organizations were promoted as better producers of person-tailored services. From the 1980s, New Public Management (NPM) reforms led to outsourcing of various types of welfare services, and a growth in market actors who competed with the established non-profit welfare providers, for public assignments (Hood, 1991). This was an international trend emanating from Anglo-Saxon countries. It’s interesting that it became influential in Scandanavian as well as more obviously neoliberal societies. In the 1980s, the fall in oil prices and the subsequent bank crisis were reasons for the further actualisation of the potential of civil society in welfare. The white paper ‘Perspectives and Reforms in Economic Policy’ (St. meld no 4 (1987–1988)) highlighted the need to mobilize the voluntary sector, and a government appointed committee delivered the first Official Norwegian Report (NOU) on the sector, ‘Voluntary Organizations’, in 1988: It is important to stimulate and mobilize the forces that exist in the local community (.) For example, agreements with voluntary organizations can be undertaken to perform specific tasks defined in cooperation between the affected parties in the local community and in the municipality (NOU, 1988: 17, p. 223). The report illuminated the scope of economic values produced by the third sector, identified the roles it has played historically in the development in welfare and democracy, and the present significance of the sector. According to the report, an increase in cooperation between municipalities and voluntary organizations became an ‘economic necessity’. An increased involvement of volunteers was called upon to contribute to the renamed welfare state, welfare society, as an important ‘supplement and ideological alternative’ to public services (NOU, 1988: 17). The report used concepts and arguments which resemble neoliberal ideologies and ideas in the UK debate in the 1980s, including the use of the concept of ‘welfare society’ as opposed to ‘welfare state’ (Ishkanian and Szreter, 2012). The ‘rediscovery’ of civil society and voluntary organizations has often been a response to critical discourse on the welfare state and arguments about its high costs, inefficiency and its production of passivity and clients. These arguments appeared in Norway in the 1980s, as in other parts of Europe, and created political attention to both the economic and social potentials of the third sector and how civil society might play new roles in society (Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Rothstein and Trägårdh, 2007). From supplement and alternative ideology, to coproduction and social innovation The renewed interest in civil society’s potential and discussions about possible changes in the division of welfare production between the sectors, has culminated in what is now called ‘the welfare mix’ (Evers, 2005; Trägårdh, 2007; Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). The debates are tied to questions about economic issues on future sustainability, but increasingly also about democratic aspects and questions around diversity, enhancing user involvement, and individual adaptations, as well as involving stakeholders from different sectors in a cooperative approach to welfare production. This implies that civil society’s actualization in current debates concerns more than just a matter of economic ideological pluralism in welfare services. Arguments tied to participation and empowerment are increasingly highlighted, and an Official Norwegian Report explicitly suggests community work as means for these ends (NOU, 2011: 11 ‘Innovation in caring’). In the following, the four different roles are identified. The first role is about institutional welfare production performed by non-profit actors after contracting with the public sector, e.g. health or education. Civil society performed the role of service provision in various welfare areas long before the welfare state expanded. This role is also relevant today even though at a smaller scale, and far smaller than in many other European countries. Today, arguments promoting non-profit welfare services often state that they represent an ideological alternative to public welfare. In this way, the arguments also refer to democratic representation. Most political parties support the existence of ideological alternatives, but the extent is subject to political disagreement. The second role is about the development of voluntary work as a supplement to public welfare services as part of recent political visions on the revitalization of civil society. The third sector’s role as coproducer of welfare is promoted both in the form of voluntary work within or outside voluntary organizations and institutions. Voluntarism is, for example, promoted as something that can take place within public institutions or under the auspices of private companies. Mobilization of this type of voluntary work has gained attention in many countries in recent years and is often described by new concepts such as cocreation, governance, coproduction and active citizenship (Torfing, 2016; Torfing and Triantafillou, 2016). Community work has contributed to the development of this role. The third role concerns voluntary organizations as advocates to authorities in processes of public decision-making. This role has been performed by actors in civil society since the gradual development of freedom of speech, beliefs and organization in the nineteenth century. The role of advocacy is equally important in today’s democracy. There is a growth in the number of organizations promoting issues, such as patient rights, and exercising political pressure, for example by organizations such as the Cancer Society, Association of Transgenders or the Fibromyalgia Association (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Advocacy is also well known in community work, through social mobilization or neighbourhood work. The fourth role is about innovation, which has gained renewed political and public attention in recent years (Hartley, 2005). Civil society was a central arena for innovation in the early stages of the welfare state, as many initiatives for establishing new services came through private initiatives of citizens and through civil organizations. With the development of the welfare state, this role has gradually become less significant. Today’s renewed interest in innovation is strong both in the market and in the public sector, and attention is increasingly directed towards the voluntary sector and collaboration between sectors. For community work, this fourth strand is of particular interest in the form of social entrepreneurship and responsible innovation. The role of non-profit service producer and supplier of alternative ideology to the welfare mix As the importance of non-profit organizations as service providers in the Norwegian welfare state has gradually diminished, there has been less focus on welfare and more engagement in culture and leisure activities in Norwegian voluntary engagement (Grønlie and Selle, 1998; Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Selle, 1993; Knutsen, 2017; Sivesind and Saglie 2017; Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). This development reflects the development of the welfare state, which, especially in the 1960s, accelerated nationally and led to inclusion of several of non-profit welfare institutions such as hospitals, in the public sector. This development was welcomed not only in politics, but also by non-profit organizations. It was Social Democratic policy to take public responsibility for vulnerable groups. Further to replace the social responsibility through the goodwill of philanthropy in favour of public services. Arguments to strengthen non-profit service production have therefore mainly belonged to the right-wing parties, such as The Conservative Party of Norway (Høyre), The Liberal Party of Norway (Venstre), and The Christian Democrats (KrF). Their arguments target promotion of non-public service (non-profit and for profit), strengthening service pluralism and ideological diversity. Despite political aspirations of the 1980s to strengthen civil society’s roles in the welfare state, non-profit welfare production continued to weaken. This was partly due to the emergence of New Public Management reforms in the 1980s. In Denmark, where non-profit welfare is greater than in Norway, political steps were taken to protect non-profit institutions from competition from profit-making enterprises in health and care. In Norway the non-profit institutions had to deal with this competition on their own (Seegard, 2017; Sivesind and Saglie, 2017). NPM reforms increased pressure on this part of the voluntary sector, and more and more non-profit organizations lost in competition with the profit-making actors. Protection of non-profit welfare production is a hot topic in contemporary debates in which private employers and workers’ unions join forces. The Solberg II-government (appointed 2017, The Conservative Party of Norway, The Liberal Party og Norway and The Progress Party) has recently announced introduction of legal instruments to facilitate growth in non-profit welfare production. Non-profit welfare providers, as ideological alternatives to the public services, have been subject of debates on several occasions in recent decades. There is increasing scepticism, especially on the political left, to arguments of including alternative religion, philosophy and pedagogy in the conduct of welfare services both in schools, kindergarten and in healthcare (Selle, 1998: 155). This scepticism has been fuelled by health workers’ freedom of choice and reservations about their duty, e.g. to assist in abortion. The demographic development shows that in 2018 17,3 percent of citizens are either immigrants (approximately 14 percent) or first-generation descendants of immigrants (approximately 3,5), a proportion which is rapidly increasing (SSB, 2018). This contributes to development of multireligious communities and provides a new basis for service production on an alternative ideological basis, not least because immigrants make up a substantial part of the health and care workforce. This adds new momentum to scepticism that religion and alternative ideology may occupy a larger space in welfare production. The challenges facing current political debates are to facilitate further development of a welfare mix through legal instruments, and at the same time protect ideal non-profit actors and stakeholders. The role of coproducer of welfare When attention is directed towards civil society’s potential as a supplement to the welfare state, the discussion is not only about the non-profit welfare institutions. Another potential is to increase voluntary work and to mobilize and develop volunteering on a larger scale (Dahlberg, 2005; Pestoff, Brandsen and Verschuere, 2012; Pestoff, 2014). An example was the Norwegian election campaign, 2017, when The Norwegian Labour Party argued for a best practice example from the Netherlands where student housing was connected to nursing homes and students could live for free in small apartments in exchange for a certain amount of hours spent on voluntary elderly care. While civic engagement in Norway has gradually moved from welfare to culture and leisure, another markedly change concerns the hallmark of the Nordic civic engagement model. The so-called ‘membership model’, where people participate as (active or passive) members in numerous organizations, has also seen a decline (Selle, 2013; Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). This does not mean that voluntary work is declining in Norway, rather, it shows that the social structures for civic participation is changing, and that participation through membership is supplemented by more time-limited, ad hoc, and individual-based forms of participation. In civil society research, voluntary participation is measured both through a record of the number of organizations and characteristics of these over time, and through investigations of individuals’ voluntary efforts. This research shows that the Nordic membership-based model is under pressure and that more civic engagement is exercised without membership of an organization, compared to previously (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Therefore, civic engagement is carried out both within voluntary organizations, such as the Red Cross, but increasingly through, for example, a volunteer centre, or for a limited period within public institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes. This is of particular interest to community work, which is based on social mobilization for a common cause. If citizens are increasingly motivated to engage in time-limited projects, community workers might get access to resources, not available when the membership model prevailed. In Norway, mobilization for more active citizenship and voluntary work as a supplement to public services has been particularly prominent in the field of health and care, in areas such as elderly care and public health, but also in terms of inclusion and integration. The authors of the parliamentary report ‘The care policy of tomorrow’ (St.meld No. 29 (2012–2013)), seems inspired by, among other things, political initiatives taken in Britain in recent years: In the municipal sector, cocreation and coproduction has been used in England, where local authorities consider this as a method that can change the constraints of today’s organization and production of welfare services. Cocreation has an innovative potential for renewing the structures and changing the quality and content of services. A wide range of challenges, such as environmental issues, crime, social problems and health cannot be solved by the public sector alone. This has created the need to trigger other social forces in society and develop approaches to municipal service production where those directly affected by the services are involved in a more concrete manner in the design and implementation of the service (St. meld No. 29 (2012-2013), pkt. 4.1.4). For example, the white papers from the Solberg I-government on Public Health (St.meld. No. 19 (2014–2015)) and on ‘The Coordination Reform’ (St.meld. No. 47 (2008–2009)) by the second Stoltenberg-government emphasize that welfare production in the future is a responsibility the public sector cannot bear alone. Instead, these white papers argue that more and different forms of cooperation between the public sector and civil society must be developed (St.meld No. 25 (2005–2006)). Further, the Official Norwegian Report, ‘Innovation in Care’ (NOU, 2011: 11), argues for more local care services, co-production and active citizenship through development of more partnerships between municipalities and voluntary organizations. With reference to the UK, community work is suggested as a new promising practice in health and care. In the new national strategy for housing social work, ‘Housing for welfare’ (KMD, 2014), the voluntary sector is emphasized as a public service partner which can fulfil different roles in social housing work. The white paper from the Ministry of Children-, Equality-, and Social Inclusion ‘A comprehensive integration policy’ (St.meld. No. 6 (2012–2013)) further underlines civil society’s important function as an arena for integration and social capital. The role of advocacy Voluntary organizations as interest organizations play a crucial advocacy role in the democracy, and in the history of community work in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Different types of organizations fulfil different functions. Firstly, following the International classification of Non-profit organizations (ICNPO), organizations grouped as interest organizations and political organizations include political organization outside the parties such as disability or gender organizations, ICAN, or the occupy movements (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Second, interest organizations also include professional and trade organizations, e.g. employers’ organizations, fishermen’s, or nurses’ organizations. Third, there are an increasing number of healthcare associations, e.g. the Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association and other social service organizations in substance abuse, the Red Cross or self-help-groups. Since the 1990s there has been a decline in Norwegian civic engagement in interest organizations tied to political activities and union, and an increase in neighbourhood-related engagement and in interest groups in social services and health (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). While unions still hold a strong position in the close, so-called tripartite cooperation (employers’ organizations, unions and government) developed in the postwar period, the increase in civic engagement is seen, e.g. in self-help groups and patient groups receiving services in the welfare state, as well as engagement for vulnerable social groups such as refugees and different minority groups both through formalized organizations and more loosely organized online groups. The trend is that civic engagement in Norway is moving away from class and conflict-related engagement. The interest organizations performing advocacy in welfare may lead to renewed importance for civil society actors in setting the agenda in welfare-related politics and as important actors in interaction and cogovernance with health and social workers in the public sector, private sector and within professionalized non-profit organizations in the voluntary sector. The flip side is s drift from collective concerns and common goods, to asserting individual rights or resources at the expense of the community. This is a pressing issue for community workers who on the one hand are well equipped to assist interest groups in their efforts, but at the same time have a commitment to see to the health and welfare of all. The role of social innovation Civil society’s fourth role is innovation and entrepreneurship. In Norway and other European countries, there is renewed interest in the voluntary sector as an important arena for the development of the welfare society/state. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ has gained political attention, as it points to a renewal of the social commitments of the welfare state. Social entrepreneurship is not new to civil society: pioneers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries established their organizations, e.g. Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association (established in 1896). Historian Anne Lise Seip (1984, pp. 91) has described the emergence of the Norwegian welfare state in different phases and points, including epochs when civil society represented an innovative potential. The early phases of the welfare state, from 1837 to 1890, are described by Seip (1991) as a time when many new voluntary organizations were established in fields such as lay person church missions, sport, work unions and women’s affairs. Welfare initiatives pioneered creation of new solutions and services, such as orphanages or services for the poor, were led variously by public actors in municipalities, voluntary civilians and organizations, or private companies and philanthropists. Some initiatives developed as a collaboration between these actors. Later there was a change in what had been a balanced cooperation in initiative and development of new solutions between actors in the different sectors. While civic agents were initially the foremost innovators in the first phase, municipalities took a stronger initiative in the second phase. From 1920 to 1940 Norwegian society experienced economic crisis. In this third phase, voluntary (non-profit) organizations providing welfare services suggested for local authorities to take over their services and thus securing the stability for the institutions. Thus, the real decline in the initiatives from civil society happened in this third phase, and the period when civilians and voluntary organizations represented the front of social innovation, ended. Civil society’s potential as an arena for innovation has become a key issue in contemporary European voluntary research focussing on social entrepreneurship and innovation, and new concepts such as coproduction and cocreation. Research projects on hybrid organizations with so-called intersector stakeholders, collective action following the solidarity economy and new models for governance and interaction between the public, voluntary and private sectors have become central research themes. In other words, civil society is devoted attention both as an arena of innovation tied to the so-called SE concepts (social entrepreneurship, social enterprises, social economy, solidarity economy), and also in interaction with both public and private sector. This is especially noticeable in countries affected by the 2008 financial crisis, but it is a topic that is increasingly discussed in the Scandinavian countries, even though cooperatives, as a form of third sector organization, have been little prevalent in health and social care in Norway compared to countries in southern Europe (Loga, 2016; Eimhjellen and Loga, 2016). The renewed interest in civil society also includes a focus on charity and philanthropy, that is, new forms of philanthropy, which are more directed towards investment and social innovation, compared to previously (Salamon, 2014). Philanthropy, as a form of social engagement, has not been widespread in Norway compared to most other Western countries and especially countries like the United Kingdom and United States. This applies both to before and after the development of the welfare state. Among other things, this has to do with norms and social structures in Norwegian society. Historically, there have been relatively small social differences, and as a former poor country, there has been a lack of a large bourgeoisie with an economic surplus. Philanthropy has also been partially disdained in Norway, as in the rest of Scandinavia, especially in the labour movement and the later social-democratic regime, which has been strong throughout the postwar period (Stenius, 2010; Sivesind, 2015). With the emergence of the welfare state in the 1960s, the goal was precisely to develop a public system that could replace the former support for schemes for the ‘unworthy’, where socially disadvantaged groups were at the mercy of privileged groups. New frontiers of philanthropy are growing in western countries, and gradually also in the increasingly affluent Norwegian society, which lead to new forms of interaction between civil society and the market different from traditional philanthropy. These are forms of interaction where private firms, e.g. through corporate social responsibility (CSR), or wealthy individuals, seek to contribute to new solutions and social innovation alternative to the existing public services. Comparative studies of philanthropy in different countries also show that philanthropy holds a rather weak position in Norway, compared to many other developed countries, but recent years’ research shows that attitudes on philanthropy is changing in Norway especially in the highest income groups (Sivesind, 2015; Loga, 2016). The public agency, Innovation Norway, promoted social entrepreneurship as one of six key focus areas in their so-called action programme of 2015, ‘Smart Society – Dream Promise (Innovation Norway 2015). This report outlined the future public commitment to innovation and change management in both public, private and voluntary sectors in Norway. The municipal interest organization, KS, has similarly raised social innovation and social entrepreneurship on the agenda, e.g. through development of a so-called ‘cookbook’ for social entrepreneurship called ‘Paths for collaboration’. Another example of public facilitation is the Directorate for Management and ICT’s development of a so-called ‘#Stimulab’ to support and stimulate municipalities on user-oriented experimentation and innovation in management’. In addition, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization has launched a promise to develop more expertise in social innovation and entrepreneurship in municipalities, and has established new public grants for social innovation directed at both social entrepreneurs and municipalities (Ingstad and Loga, 2016). Conclusion In recent years, attention has been paid to the potential of civil society in the interaction and renewal of the welfare state. Questions about which roles volunteers and voluntary organizations can play are discussed in various debates, and in public reports and white papers. In the late 1970s civil society was ‘rediscovered’ in Norway and through the work of different public committees, civil society was described as a separate third sector in need of a more enhanced and holistic policy design. The subject of mobilizing civil society has appeared on a regular basis in Norwegian public debate since the 1970s, as in other European countries. The recent actualization is linked to economic downturns, followed by criticisms of the welfare state and its economic sustainability. In addition to this, the actualization is also tied to the focus on innovation and the need for renewal and change management in both private and public sectors. In this article, I have illuminated some of the past relations between civil society and the welfare state in Norway and tried to discuss some potential future roles. Current debates focus on public facilitation to increase non-governmental welfare producers with a not-for-profit mission, who also may contribute to greater ideological diversity in service provision. This debate on the share of welfare production from different sector, also referred to as the welfare mix, is the first role discussed in this article. Arguments against increasing non-profit services include, among other things, a defence of public services at the expense of private and profit-driven providers, a defence of public sector jobs and public pension rights, and scepticism that religion or alternative strong ideology will become prominent in welfare production. The second role I have discussed refers to arguments that civil society in the future must contribute more to welfare production as a supplement, not a replacement, of public services. This role can be linked to current concepts such as cocreation, co-production and active citizenship, and can be ambiguous in the sense that arguments are linked to economic savings on the one hand and (increasingly) democratic participation, empowerment and user involvement on the other. Arguments against this role include, among other things, that co-ordination processes are often presented in an ambivalent way as both a concern for empowerment and for public spending. Furthermore, critical arguments are raised with reference to the problem of organizing these complex collaborations involving actors working from different logics, and also that the co-productions do not mobilize and empower new social groups as promised. The third role is the traditional one that organizations have filled in the democracy model as a voice for interest groups. The development of organized civil engagement in Norway shows that from the 1990s this type of organization gradually turned away from traditional political issues, occupational and business engagement, and turned more towards neighbourhood activities, commitment to health and welfare and to strengthening interests of vulnerable groups, among other things. The role of civil society as an arena for advocacy in the welfare state’s various areas, is in other words a role with increased potential for development. The fourth and final role is about innovation. Attention to innovation, renewal, and change management has for some time been a strong interest of competitive markets (especially related to the oil business in Norway), and in recent years also in the public and voluntary sectors. The importance of civil society as an arena of innovation is a theme that is well-known in the history of the welfare state. The new focus on innovation in the voluntary sector has been both welcomed and met with critical arguments, e.g. that innovation in welfare services should primarily take place within the framework of the public sector and that the welfare state’s success has shown that civil social responsibility and philanthropy is no longer needed in the developed social-democratic welfare state. On the other hand, the number of hybrid organizations such as social entrepreneurs and social enterprises is currently increasing in cooperation between voluntary actors, municipalities, private enterprises and new philanthropists. The scope of social entrepreneurship is larger in other parts of Europe and in the United States, than in the Nordic countries. However, it is now a field of growing attention in Norway, and illustrates that the voluntary sector may receive a renewed pioneering role in a gradually more affluent society with a large-scale welfare state. The relationship between civil society and the welfare state constitute an important structural and ideological backdrop and frame of reference for community workers in Norway as in other European countries. This article has presented the historical and present challenges faced by Norwegian society, which have contributed to the development of our present-day welfare state and to the status of community work. Community work in Norway is both a precursor and a result of the past relations between civil society and the welfare state, and the future roles of civil society are expected to have a bearing on community work as a practical and theoretical discipline. Creative and innovative practice development and research are welcomed to further the development of the third sector’s roles, as a further development of future roles, values and practices of community work. Jill Loga is Associate Professor at Western Norway University of Applied science and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Bergen (2005). She was the coordinator of The Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector in Norway (2013–2017) and has published books and articles related to participation and inclusion in civil society, and in later years on social entrepreneurship and innovation. Acknowledgements Gratitude goes to the editors of this volume, Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann and Jan-Kåre Breivik, as well as my colleagues at The Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector in Norway (Bergen and Oslo). Funding Western Norway University for Applied Science has funded the work undertaken for this article by annual research grants. The content of the article relies on former research performed at The Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. References Dahlberg , L. 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Kuhnle , S. and Selle , P. ( 1992 ) Government and Voluntary Organizations , Avebury , Aldershot . Loga , J. ( 2016 ) Frivillighet og forretning. Nye former for samspill mellom sivilsamfunnet og Markedet (Voluntarism and marked. New forms of coproduction between civil society and the marked). Bergen/Oslo: Senter for forskning på sivilsamfunn og frivillig sektor, report 8/2016. Martin , R. and Sunley , P. ( 2006 ) Path dependence and regional economic evolution , Journal of Economic Geography , 6 ( 4 ), 395 – 437 . https://doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbl012 Nagel , A. H. (red.) ( 1991 ) Velferdskommunen. Kommunenes rolle i utviklingen av Velferdsstaten (The Welfare Municipality. The municipalities´role in developing the Welfare State), Alma Mater, Bergen, Norway. NOU . ( 1988 :17) Frivillige organisasjoner (Voluntary organisations). Det norske finans og tolldepartement, Oslo, Norway. NOU . ( 2011 :11) Innovasjon i omsorg (Innovation in care). Helse- og sosialdepartementet, Oslo, Norway. Pestoff , V. ( 2014 ) Hybridity, coproduction, and third sector social services in Europe , American Behavioral Scientist , 58 ( 11 ), 1412 – 1424 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Pestoff , V. T. , Brandsen , T. and Verschuere B. , eds ( 2012 ) New Public Governance, the Third Sector and Co-Production , Routledge , New York, London . Raaum , J. ( 1988 ). ‘De frivillige organisasjoners framvekst i Norge’ (The emergence of the voluntary organisations in Norway), appendix 1, NOU 1998:17 Frivillige organisasjoner. Oslo: Finans og tolldepartementet. Rokkan , S. ( 1970 ) Citizens, Elections, Parties , Universitetsforlaget , Oslo, Norway . Rothstein , B. and Trägårdh , L. ( 2007 ) ‘The State and Civil Society in an Historical Perspective: The Swedish Case’ in State and Civil Society in Northern Europa. Berghan Books, New York, NY. Salamon , L. ( 2014 ) Leverage for Good. An Introduction to the New Frontiers of Philanthropy and Social Investment , Oxford University Press , New York, NY . 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( 1998 ) Organisasjonssamfunnet – eit statsreiskap?’ (The organisational society – a tool for the state?), in T. Grønlie and P. Selle , eds , Ein Stat? Fristillingas fire ansikt , Samlaget , Oslo, Norway , pp. 141 – 179 . Selle , P. ( 2013 ) Reflektioner kring medlemsmodellens betydelse’ (Reflections around the impact of the membership model), in L. Trägårdh , et al. , eds , Civilsamhälle klämt mellan stat och kapital. Välfärd, mångfald, framtid , SNS Förlag , Stockholm, Sweden , pp. 49 – 64 . Selle , P. , Strømsnes , K. and Loga , J. ( 2018 ) State and Civil Society – a Regime Change? , in B. Enjolras and K. Strømsnes, eds, Scandinavian Civil Society and Social Transformation. The Case of Norway. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany , pp. 117 – 163 . Sivesind , K. H. ( 2015 ) Giving in Norway: An ambitious Welfare State with a Self-Reliant Nonprofit Sector, in , P. Wiepking and F. Handy , eds , The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philantrophy , Palgrave Macmillian , Basingstoke, UK . Sivesind , K. H. and Saglie J. , eds ( 2017 ) Promoting Active Citizenship. Market and Choices in Scandinavian Welfare , Palgrave Macmillian , Basingstoke, UK . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS SSB . ( 2018 ) Innvandrere og norskfødte med innvandrerforeldre (Immigrants and Norwegian born persons with immigants parents) Statistisk Sentralbyrå, accessed at: https://www.ssb.no/befolkning/statistikker/innvbef/aar/ (9 April 2018). St.meld nr. 25 ( 2005 –2006) Mestring, muligheter og mening. Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet, Oslo, Norway. St.meld nr. 19 . ( 2014 –2015) Folkehelsemeldingen – Mestring og muligheter (The Public Health Report – Coping and opportunity). Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet, Oslo, Norway. St.meld nr. 47 ( 2008 –2009) Samhandlingsreformen (The Coordination Reform) , Helse- og omsorgsdepartementet , Oslo, Norway . St.meld. nr. 29 . ( 2012 –2013) Morgendagens omsorg (Care for tomorrow). OsloHelse- og sosialdepartementet, Oslo, Norway. St.meld. nr. 4 ( 1987 –1988) Perspektiver og reformer i den økonomiske politikken (Perspectives and reforms in the economic policy) , Finansdepartementet , Oslo, Norway . St.meld. nr. 6 . ( 2012 –2013) En helhetlig integreringspolitikk (A comprehensive integration policy). Barne- likestillings- og inkluderingsdepartementet, Oslo, Norway. Stenius , H. ( 2010 ) Nordic associational life in Europe and Inter-Nordic perspectives, in R. Alapuro and H. Stenius , eds , Nordic Associations in a European Perspective , Nomos , Baden-Baden, Germany , pp. 29 – 86 . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Torfing , J. ( 2016 ) Collaborative Innovation in the Public Sector , Georgetown University Press , Washington, DC, WA . Torfing , J. and Triantafillou , P. ( 2016 ) Enhancing Public Innovation by Transforming Public Governance , Cambridge University Press , Cambridge, UK . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS Trägårdh , L. , ed. ( 2007 ) State and Civil Society in Northern Europe. The Swedish Model Reconsidered , Berghan Books , New York, NY . Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2018 All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Community Development Journal Oxford University Press

Civil society and the welfare state in Norway – historical relations and future roles

Community Development Journal , Volume Advance Article (3) – May 22, 2018

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Abstract

Abstract Recent years have seen an increasing interest in how civil society can contribute to the renewal of welfare states. Civil society and grassroots' initiatives and organizations played a central role in the original establishment of welfare states, but gradually the roles of civil society in welfare decreased. In Norway, there is still a high level of civic participation, but engagement is strong in the fields of culture and leisure, especially in children’s leisure activities in communities. In current public debates in Norway, as in many other European countries, the potential roles of civil society in the welfare state have been high on the agenda. Starting from studies of Norwegian white papers and official reports, in which civil society is increasingly seen as an untapped resource for ideal welfare production, coproduction between sectors, social innovation and entrepreneurship, voluntary sector and advocacy, the article will discuss how key values and practices in community work can add to or challenge this endeavour. The example of Norway is used with some comparative references to other countries. The article highlights not only the economic preconditions for future development for welfare, but also structural preconditions for a renewal of community work and possible new collaborative relations between civil society and the welfare state. Introduction Discussions about the potential of civil society in the renewal of the Norwegian welfare state are not new. In the Scandinavian countries, where the main responsibility for welfare production lies in the public sector, this debate has appeared regularly since the 1970s. The debates have varied in strength; they have had different content and have led to various policy developments. In recent years the EU Commission has focused on the untapped potential (from an economic perspective) of the voluntary sector and highlighted concepts such as cocreation, coproduction, and social innovation. Signals from Europe also effect Norway, as a member of European Economic Area (EEA). Besides economic aspects, attention is also linked to new governance reforms in the public sector with the aim of strengthening the welfare state’s legitimacy and to promote more active citizenship (from a democracy perspective). One of the hallmarks of the Scandinavian social democratic model is a close interaction between public authorities and civil society organizations. Historically, this interaction is characterized by several informal and formal arenas for cooperation and dialogue, e.g. related to health, work life or sports. Numerous councils, boards and committees act as dialogue forums between the State and voluntary organizations, at a national, regional and local level (Trägårdh, 2007). This interaction also effects how civil society is structured. Large and established organizations often reflect public administration structures, including the vertical structure with local, regional and national links, with corresponding meeting points between state and organizations at all levels. A close and consensus-based cooperation between the state and the organizations is thus one of the characteristics of civic forms of participation in northern Europe, commonly referred to as the ‘Nordic membership model’, and the process of how the welfare states developed historically (Seip, 1984, 1991; Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Selle, 2013). This backdrop has a bearing on future roles of civil society in the Scandinavian welfare states. Cultural and historical traditions for civic participation may produce path dependency for the development of future engagement (Martin and Sunley, 2006); i.e. that earlier decisions or circumstances which may not be relevant still influence future development. Community workers in the Scandinavian countries have traditionally had a close relationship to civil society, or third sector, organizations. The empirical material supporting this article is drawn from research on the voluntary sector in Norway (including the author’s), and analysis of the welfare policy as it has emerged in white papers, public reports and parliamentary reports of recent decades. Policy development has been affected by experiences from countries within or outside the EU, which provide a comparison to the Norwegian case. This article discusses the different roles of civil society as a producer of welfare and fulfiller of democratic functions in a process of restructuring the Norwegian welfare state. The discussion centres around four different roles: (i) ideal welfare production, (ii) co-production between sectors, (iii) advocacy, and (iv) social innovation and entrepreneurship. Civil society’s function as welfare producer and democratic engine will be central in the discussion of the different roles. Origins of the relations between state and civil society It is commonplace to make a distinction between civil society’s political and democratic function on the one side, and welfare production on the other (Selle, 1998: 160). The third sector’s role as a producer of welfare services, different from the public sector and the commercial market, refers to services provided by non-profit organizations; e.g. substance use treatment, mental health, elderly care, disability, or child welfare. In such areas, non-profit organizations have played a crucial role in the development of the welfare state and in building institutions such as hospitals, kindergartens and nursing homes. The democratic functions, however, refer to voluntary organizations roles as political agents, influencing opinion, promoting and defending the interests of different social groups, and being a consultation body for the government. Corporatism in the Nordic model, commonly called democratic corporatism, refers to the formal and informal participation of voluntary organizations in governance and decision-making processes (Rokkan, 1970). When voluntary organizations are referred to as an interest organization, it is within this democratic perspective where civil society’s main function is to bring forward needs and demands from the grassroots and up to decision makers. In this bottom-up perspective, civil society also plays an important role as a manager and guardian of social values and therefore also as a socialization arena. Civil society can, thus, be a ‘school in democracy’ (Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Collaboration between civil society and public authorities takes a number of forms which may also vary widely between different municipalities in Norway (Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). In third sector research, it is common to distinguish between funding, service production, and control as different forms of interaction (Selle, 1998). Voluntary organizations may receive public grants for taking a role in the interests of society, e.g. for strengthening recognized social values and outcomes. Through the historical development of this sector in Norway, one finds examples of cooperation between organizations and the gradual developing ‘welfare municipals’ through funding as early as the 1820s (Nagel, 1991). Funding has eventually come in many forms, as public grants, purchase of services, project support or through free rental of public premises. Most of the early voluntary organizations receiving public grants in Norway performed public tasks tied to socialization measures (Raaum, 1988), e.g. for homeless people or people with alcohol-related problems. In producing welfare services, they also played an important role as representatives. Organizations developed a proximity to the groups they worked for (and with) and could thus act as ‘ears and voice’ mutually between the social groups and the authorities. One association receiving grants from the municipalities for this was The Royal Norwegian Society for Development (Det Kongelige Selskab for Norges Vel), founded in 1809. These organizations provided books and facilitated reading groups for the education of peasants. In many local councils, the organizations were considered to contribute to the interests of society, by delivering education or welfare services not otherwise accessible. Municipal councils therefore granted direct financial support (Raaum, 1988: 241). Long before the larger expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s, they functioned as important supplementing service producers. In the development of the ‘welfare municipality’, voluntary organizations functioned as the voice of vulnerable groups, consultation body, service providers as well as agent for governmental control (Nagel, 1991). The relations between civil society and the welfare state were first systematically discussed in Norway in the late 1970s as a specified third sector between the state and the market. The attention toward this sector increased during the 1980s (Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018) due to the global economic recession. In the 1990s interest continued, but now also linked to ideological factors and the emergence of anti-statist attitudes that appeared in the wake of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Emphasis was given to the importance of protecting the autonomy of the third sector, and a focus on its institutional logics, different from, and independent of, both state and market. The new conservative/liberal wave, which in Norway was revealed in the Willoch government in 1981 (The conservative Party of Norway), also drew attention to the fact that both the market and civil society can produce welfare services more cheaply than the public sector. In addition, it was argued that voluntary organizations, with their proximity to different user groups, could capture people’s interests and needs better than the public sector. Civil society organizations were promoted as better producers of person-tailored services. From the 1980s, New Public Management (NPM) reforms led to outsourcing of various types of welfare services, and a growth in market actors who competed with the established non-profit welfare providers, for public assignments (Hood, 1991). This was an international trend emanating from Anglo-Saxon countries. It’s interesting that it became influential in Scandanavian as well as more obviously neoliberal societies. In the 1980s, the fall in oil prices and the subsequent bank crisis were reasons for the further actualisation of the potential of civil society in welfare. The white paper ‘Perspectives and Reforms in Economic Policy’ (St. meld no 4 (1987–1988)) highlighted the need to mobilize the voluntary sector, and a government appointed committee delivered the first Official Norwegian Report (NOU) on the sector, ‘Voluntary Organizations’, in 1988: It is important to stimulate and mobilize the forces that exist in the local community (.) For example, agreements with voluntary organizations can be undertaken to perform specific tasks defined in cooperation between the affected parties in the local community and in the municipality (NOU, 1988: 17, p. 223). The report illuminated the scope of economic values produced by the third sector, identified the roles it has played historically in the development in welfare and democracy, and the present significance of the sector. According to the report, an increase in cooperation between municipalities and voluntary organizations became an ‘economic necessity’. An increased involvement of volunteers was called upon to contribute to the renamed welfare state, welfare society, as an important ‘supplement and ideological alternative’ to public services (NOU, 1988: 17). The report used concepts and arguments which resemble neoliberal ideologies and ideas in the UK debate in the 1980s, including the use of the concept of ‘welfare society’ as opposed to ‘welfare state’ (Ishkanian and Szreter, 2012). The ‘rediscovery’ of civil society and voluntary organizations has often been a response to critical discourse on the welfare state and arguments about its high costs, inefficiency and its production of passivity and clients. These arguments appeared in Norway in the 1980s, as in other parts of Europe, and created political attention to both the economic and social potentials of the third sector and how civil society might play new roles in society (Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Rothstein and Trägårdh, 2007). From supplement and alternative ideology, to coproduction and social innovation The renewed interest in civil society’s potential and discussions about possible changes in the division of welfare production between the sectors, has culminated in what is now called ‘the welfare mix’ (Evers, 2005; Trägårdh, 2007; Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). The debates are tied to questions about economic issues on future sustainability, but increasingly also about democratic aspects and questions around diversity, enhancing user involvement, and individual adaptations, as well as involving stakeholders from different sectors in a cooperative approach to welfare production. This implies that civil society’s actualization in current debates concerns more than just a matter of economic ideological pluralism in welfare services. Arguments tied to participation and empowerment are increasingly highlighted, and an Official Norwegian Report explicitly suggests community work as means for these ends (NOU, 2011: 11 ‘Innovation in caring’). In the following, the four different roles are identified. The first role is about institutional welfare production performed by non-profit actors after contracting with the public sector, e.g. health or education. Civil society performed the role of service provision in various welfare areas long before the welfare state expanded. This role is also relevant today even though at a smaller scale, and far smaller than in many other European countries. Today, arguments promoting non-profit welfare services often state that they represent an ideological alternative to public welfare. In this way, the arguments also refer to democratic representation. Most political parties support the existence of ideological alternatives, but the extent is subject to political disagreement. The second role is about the development of voluntary work as a supplement to public welfare services as part of recent political visions on the revitalization of civil society. The third sector’s role as coproducer of welfare is promoted both in the form of voluntary work within or outside voluntary organizations and institutions. Voluntarism is, for example, promoted as something that can take place within public institutions or under the auspices of private companies. Mobilization of this type of voluntary work has gained attention in many countries in recent years and is often described by new concepts such as cocreation, governance, coproduction and active citizenship (Torfing, 2016; Torfing and Triantafillou, 2016). Community work has contributed to the development of this role. The third role concerns voluntary organizations as advocates to authorities in processes of public decision-making. This role has been performed by actors in civil society since the gradual development of freedom of speech, beliefs and organization in the nineteenth century. The role of advocacy is equally important in today’s democracy. There is a growth in the number of organizations promoting issues, such as patient rights, and exercising political pressure, for example by organizations such as the Cancer Society, Association of Transgenders or the Fibromyalgia Association (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Advocacy is also well known in community work, through social mobilization or neighbourhood work. The fourth role is about innovation, which has gained renewed political and public attention in recent years (Hartley, 2005). Civil society was a central arena for innovation in the early stages of the welfare state, as many initiatives for establishing new services came through private initiatives of citizens and through civil organizations. With the development of the welfare state, this role has gradually become less significant. Today’s renewed interest in innovation is strong both in the market and in the public sector, and attention is increasingly directed towards the voluntary sector and collaboration between sectors. For community work, this fourth strand is of particular interest in the form of social entrepreneurship and responsible innovation. The role of non-profit service producer and supplier of alternative ideology to the welfare mix As the importance of non-profit organizations as service providers in the Norwegian welfare state has gradually diminished, there has been less focus on welfare and more engagement in culture and leisure activities in Norwegian voluntary engagement (Grønlie and Selle, 1998; Kuhnle and Selle, 1992; Selle, 1993; Knutsen, 2017; Sivesind and Saglie 2017; Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). This development reflects the development of the welfare state, which, especially in the 1960s, accelerated nationally and led to inclusion of several of non-profit welfare institutions such as hospitals, in the public sector. This development was welcomed not only in politics, but also by non-profit organizations. It was Social Democratic policy to take public responsibility for vulnerable groups. Further to replace the social responsibility through the goodwill of philanthropy in favour of public services. Arguments to strengthen non-profit service production have therefore mainly belonged to the right-wing parties, such as The Conservative Party of Norway (Høyre), The Liberal Party of Norway (Venstre), and The Christian Democrats (KrF). Their arguments target promotion of non-public service (non-profit and for profit), strengthening service pluralism and ideological diversity. Despite political aspirations of the 1980s to strengthen civil society’s roles in the welfare state, non-profit welfare production continued to weaken. This was partly due to the emergence of New Public Management reforms in the 1980s. In Denmark, where non-profit welfare is greater than in Norway, political steps were taken to protect non-profit institutions from competition from profit-making enterprises in health and care. In Norway the non-profit institutions had to deal with this competition on their own (Seegard, 2017; Sivesind and Saglie, 2017). NPM reforms increased pressure on this part of the voluntary sector, and more and more non-profit organizations lost in competition with the profit-making actors. Protection of non-profit welfare production is a hot topic in contemporary debates in which private employers and workers’ unions join forces. The Solberg II-government (appointed 2017, The Conservative Party of Norway, The Liberal Party og Norway and The Progress Party) has recently announced introduction of legal instruments to facilitate growth in non-profit welfare production. Non-profit welfare providers, as ideological alternatives to the public services, have been subject of debates on several occasions in recent decades. There is increasing scepticism, especially on the political left, to arguments of including alternative religion, philosophy and pedagogy in the conduct of welfare services both in schools, kindergarten and in healthcare (Selle, 1998: 155). This scepticism has been fuelled by health workers’ freedom of choice and reservations about their duty, e.g. to assist in abortion. The demographic development shows that in 2018 17,3 percent of citizens are either immigrants (approximately 14 percent) or first-generation descendants of immigrants (approximately 3,5), a proportion which is rapidly increasing (SSB, 2018). This contributes to development of multireligious communities and provides a new basis for service production on an alternative ideological basis, not least because immigrants make up a substantial part of the health and care workforce. This adds new momentum to scepticism that religion and alternative ideology may occupy a larger space in welfare production. The challenges facing current political debates are to facilitate further development of a welfare mix through legal instruments, and at the same time protect ideal non-profit actors and stakeholders. The role of coproducer of welfare When attention is directed towards civil society’s potential as a supplement to the welfare state, the discussion is not only about the non-profit welfare institutions. Another potential is to increase voluntary work and to mobilize and develop volunteering on a larger scale (Dahlberg, 2005; Pestoff, Brandsen and Verschuere, 2012; Pestoff, 2014). An example was the Norwegian election campaign, 2017, when The Norwegian Labour Party argued for a best practice example from the Netherlands where student housing was connected to nursing homes and students could live for free in small apartments in exchange for a certain amount of hours spent on voluntary elderly care. While civic engagement in Norway has gradually moved from welfare to culture and leisure, another markedly change concerns the hallmark of the Nordic civic engagement model. The so-called ‘membership model’, where people participate as (active or passive) members in numerous organizations, has also seen a decline (Selle, 2013; Selle, Strømsnes and Loga, 2018). This does not mean that voluntary work is declining in Norway, rather, it shows that the social structures for civic participation is changing, and that participation through membership is supplemented by more time-limited, ad hoc, and individual-based forms of participation. In civil society research, voluntary participation is measured both through a record of the number of organizations and characteristics of these over time, and through investigations of individuals’ voluntary efforts. This research shows that the Nordic membership-based model is under pressure and that more civic engagement is exercised without membership of an organization, compared to previously (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Therefore, civic engagement is carried out both within voluntary organizations, such as the Red Cross, but increasingly through, for example, a volunteer centre, or for a limited period within public institutions such as hospitals or nursing homes. This is of particular interest to community work, which is based on social mobilization for a common cause. If citizens are increasingly motivated to engage in time-limited projects, community workers might get access to resources, not available when the membership model prevailed. In Norway, mobilization for more active citizenship and voluntary work as a supplement to public services has been particularly prominent in the field of health and care, in areas such as elderly care and public health, but also in terms of inclusion and integration. The authors of the parliamentary report ‘The care policy of tomorrow’ (St.meld No. 29 (2012–2013)), seems inspired by, among other things, political initiatives taken in Britain in recent years: In the municipal sector, cocreation and coproduction has been used in England, where local authorities consider this as a method that can change the constraints of today’s organization and production of welfare services. Cocreation has an innovative potential for renewing the structures and changing the quality and content of services. A wide range of challenges, such as environmental issues, crime, social problems and health cannot be solved by the public sector alone. This has created the need to trigger other social forces in society and develop approaches to municipal service production where those directly affected by the services are involved in a more concrete manner in the design and implementation of the service (St. meld No. 29 (2012-2013), pkt. 4.1.4). For example, the white papers from the Solberg I-government on Public Health (St.meld. No. 19 (2014–2015)) and on ‘The Coordination Reform’ (St.meld. No. 47 (2008–2009)) by the second Stoltenberg-government emphasize that welfare production in the future is a responsibility the public sector cannot bear alone. Instead, these white papers argue that more and different forms of cooperation between the public sector and civil society must be developed (St.meld No. 25 (2005–2006)). Further, the Official Norwegian Report, ‘Innovation in Care’ (NOU, 2011: 11), argues for more local care services, co-production and active citizenship through development of more partnerships between municipalities and voluntary organizations. With reference to the UK, community work is suggested as a new promising practice in health and care. In the new national strategy for housing social work, ‘Housing for welfare’ (KMD, 2014), the voluntary sector is emphasized as a public service partner which can fulfil different roles in social housing work. The white paper from the Ministry of Children-, Equality-, and Social Inclusion ‘A comprehensive integration policy’ (St.meld. No. 6 (2012–2013)) further underlines civil society’s important function as an arena for integration and social capital. The role of advocacy Voluntary organizations as interest organizations play a crucial advocacy role in the democracy, and in the history of community work in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia. Different types of organizations fulfil different functions. Firstly, following the International classification of Non-profit organizations (ICNPO), organizations grouped as interest organizations and political organizations include political organization outside the parties such as disability or gender organizations, ICAN, or the occupy movements (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). Second, interest organizations also include professional and trade organizations, e.g. employers’ organizations, fishermen’s, or nurses’ organizations. Third, there are an increasing number of healthcare associations, e.g. the Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association and other social service organizations in substance abuse, the Red Cross or self-help-groups. Since the 1990s there has been a decline in Norwegian civic engagement in interest organizations tied to political activities and union, and an increase in neighbourhood-related engagement and in interest groups in social services and health (Enjolras and Strømsnes, 2018). While unions still hold a strong position in the close, so-called tripartite cooperation (employers’ organizations, unions and government) developed in the postwar period, the increase in civic engagement is seen, e.g. in self-help groups and patient groups receiving services in the welfare state, as well as engagement for vulnerable social groups such as refugees and different minority groups both through formalized organizations and more loosely organized online groups. The trend is that civic engagement in Norway is moving away from class and conflict-related engagement. The interest organizations performing advocacy in welfare may lead to renewed importance for civil society actors in setting the agenda in welfare-related politics and as important actors in interaction and cogovernance with health and social workers in the public sector, private sector and within professionalized non-profit organizations in the voluntary sector. The flip side is s drift from collective concerns and common goods, to asserting individual rights or resources at the expense of the community. This is a pressing issue for community workers who on the one hand are well equipped to assist interest groups in their efforts, but at the same time have a commitment to see to the health and welfare of all. The role of social innovation Civil society’s fourth role is innovation and entrepreneurship. In Norway and other European countries, there is renewed interest in the voluntary sector as an important arena for the development of the welfare society/state. The term ‘social entrepreneurship’ has gained political attention, as it points to a renewal of the social commitments of the welfare state. Social entrepreneurship is not new to civil society: pioneers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries established their organizations, e.g. Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association (established in 1896). Historian Anne Lise Seip (1984, pp. 91) has described the emergence of the Norwegian welfare state in different phases and points, including epochs when civil society represented an innovative potential. The early phases of the welfare state, from 1837 to 1890, are described by Seip (1991) as a time when many new voluntary organizations were established in fields such as lay person church missions, sport, work unions and women’s affairs. Welfare initiatives pioneered creation of new solutions and services, such as orphanages or services for the poor, were led variously by public actors in municipalities, voluntary civilians and organizations, or private companies and philanthropists. Some initiatives developed as a collaboration between these actors. Later there was a change in what had been a balanced cooperation in initiative and development of new solutions between actors in the different sectors. While civic agents were initially the foremost innovators in the first phase, municipalities took a stronger initiative in the second phase. From 1920 to 1940 Norwegian society experienced economic crisis. In this third phase, voluntary (non-profit) organizations providing welfare services suggested for local authorities to take over their services and thus securing the stability for the institutions. Thus, the real decline in the initiatives from civil society happened in this third phase, and the period when civilians and voluntary organizations represented the front of social innovation, ended. Civil society’s potential as an arena for innovation has become a key issue in contemporary European voluntary research focussing on social entrepreneurship and innovation, and new concepts such as coproduction and cocreation. Research projects on hybrid organizations with so-called intersector stakeholders, collective action following the solidarity economy and new models for governance and interaction between the public, voluntary and private sectors have become central research themes. In other words, civil society is devoted attention both as an arena of innovation tied to the so-called SE concepts (social entrepreneurship, social enterprises, social economy, solidarity economy), and also in interaction with both public and private sector. This is especially noticeable in countries affected by the 2008 financial crisis, but it is a topic that is increasingly discussed in the Scandinavian countries, even though cooperatives, as a form of third sector organization, have been little prevalent in health and social care in Norway compared to countries in southern Europe (Loga, 2016; Eimhjellen and Loga, 2016). The renewed interest in civil society also includes a focus on charity and philanthropy, that is, new forms of philanthropy, which are more directed towards investment and social innovation, compared to previously (Salamon, 2014). Philanthropy, as a form of social engagement, has not been widespread in Norway compared to most other Western countries and especially countries like the United Kingdom and United States. This applies both to before and after the development of the welfare state. Among other things, this has to do with norms and social structures in Norwegian society. Historically, there have been relatively small social differences, and as a former poor country, there has been a lack of a large bourgeoisie with an economic surplus. Philanthropy has also been partially disdained in Norway, as in the rest of Scandinavia, especially in the labour movement and the later social-democratic regime, which has been strong throughout the postwar period (Stenius, 2010; Sivesind, 2015). With the emergence of the welfare state in the 1960s, the goal was precisely to develop a public system that could replace the former support for schemes for the ‘unworthy’, where socially disadvantaged groups were at the mercy of privileged groups. New frontiers of philanthropy are growing in western countries, and gradually also in the increasingly affluent Norwegian society, which lead to new forms of interaction between civil society and the market different from traditional philanthropy. These are forms of interaction where private firms, e.g. through corporate social responsibility (CSR), or wealthy individuals, seek to contribute to new solutions and social innovation alternative to the existing public services. Comparative studies of philanthropy in different countries also show that philanthropy holds a rather weak position in Norway, compared to many other developed countries, but recent years’ research shows that attitudes on philanthropy is changing in Norway especially in the highest income groups (Sivesind, 2015; Loga, 2016). The public agency, Innovation Norway, promoted social entrepreneurship as one of six key focus areas in their so-called action programme of 2015, ‘Smart Society – Dream Promise (Innovation Norway 2015). This report outlined the future public commitment to innovation and change management in both public, private and voluntary sectors in Norway. The municipal interest organization, KS, has similarly raised social innovation and social entrepreneurship on the agenda, e.g. through development of a so-called ‘cookbook’ for social entrepreneurship called ‘Paths for collaboration’. Another example of public facilitation is the Directorate for Management and ICT’s development of a so-called ‘#Stimulab’ to support and stimulate municipalities on user-oriented experimentation and innovation in management’. In addition, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization has launched a promise to develop more expertise in social innovation and entrepreneurship in municipalities, and has established new public grants for social innovation directed at both social entrepreneurs and municipalities (Ingstad and Loga, 2016). Conclusion In recent years, attention has been paid to the potential of civil society in the interaction and renewal of the welfare state. Questions about which roles volunteers and voluntary organizations can play are discussed in various debates, and in public reports and white papers. In the late 1970s civil society was ‘rediscovered’ in Norway and through the work of different public committees, civil society was described as a separate third sector in need of a more enhanced and holistic policy design. The subject of mobilizing civil society has appeared on a regular basis in Norwegian public debate since the 1970s, as in other European countries. The recent actualization is linked to economic downturns, followed by criticisms of the welfare state and its economic sustainability. In addition to this, the actualization is also tied to the focus on innovation and the need for renewal and change management in both private and public sectors. In this article, I have illuminated some of the past relations between civil society and the welfare state in Norway and tried to discuss some potential future roles. Current debates focus on public facilitation to increase non-governmental welfare producers with a not-for-profit mission, who also may contribute to greater ideological diversity in service provision. This debate on the share of welfare production from different sector, also referred to as the welfare mix, is the first role discussed in this article. Arguments against increasing non-profit services include, among other things, a defence of public services at the expense of private and profit-driven providers, a defence of public sector jobs and public pension rights, and scepticism that religion or alternative strong ideology will become prominent in welfare production. The second role I have discussed refers to arguments that civil society in the future must contribute more to welfare production as a supplement, not a replacement, of public services. This role can be linked to current concepts such as cocreation, co-production and active citizenship, and can be ambiguous in the sense that arguments are linked to economic savings on the one hand and (increasingly) democratic participation, empowerment and user involvement on the other. Arguments against this role include, among other things, that co-ordination processes are often presented in an ambivalent way as both a concern for empowerment and for public spending. Furthermore, critical arguments are raised with reference to the problem of organizing these complex collaborations involving actors working from different logics, and also that the co-productions do not mobilize and empower new social groups as promised. The third role is the traditional one that organizations have filled in the democracy model as a voice for interest groups. The development of organized civil engagement in Norway shows that from the 1990s this type of organization gradually turned away from traditional political issues, occupational and business engagement, and turned more towards neighbourhood activities, commitment to health and welfare and to strengthening interests of vulnerable groups, among other things. The role of civil society as an arena for advocacy in the welfare state’s various areas, is in other words a role with increased potential for development. The fourth and final role is about innovation. Attention to innovation, renewal, and change management has for some time been a strong interest of competitive markets (especially related to the oil business in Norway), and in recent years also in the public and voluntary sectors. The importance of civil society as an arena of innovation is a theme that is well-known in the history of the welfare state. The new focus on innovation in the voluntary sector has been both welcomed and met with critical arguments, e.g. that innovation in welfare services should primarily take place within the framework of the public sector and that the welfare state’s success has shown that civil social responsibility and philanthropy is no longer needed in the developed social-democratic welfare state. On the other hand, the number of hybrid organizations such as social entrepreneurs and social enterprises is currently increasing in cooperation between voluntary actors, municipalities, private enterprises and new philanthropists. The scope of social entrepreneurship is larger in other parts of Europe and in the United States, than in the Nordic countries. However, it is now a field of growing attention in Norway, and illustrates that the voluntary sector may receive a renewed pioneering role in a gradually more affluent society with a large-scale welfare state. The relationship between civil society and the welfare state constitute an important structural and ideological backdrop and frame of reference for community workers in Norway as in other European countries. This article has presented the historical and present challenges faced by Norwegian society, which have contributed to the development of our present-day welfare state and to the status of community work. Community work in Norway is both a precursor and a result of the past relations between civil society and the welfare state, and the future roles of civil society are expected to have a bearing on community work as a practical and theoretical discipline. Creative and innovative practice development and research are welcomed to further the development of the third sector’s roles, as a further development of future roles, values and practices of community work. Jill Loga is Associate Professor at Western Norway University of Applied science and holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Bergen (2005). She was the coordinator of The Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector in Norway (2013–2017) and has published books and articles related to participation and inclusion in civil society, and in later years on social entrepreneurship and innovation. Acknowledgements Gratitude goes to the editors of this volume, Tobba Therkildsen Sudmann and Jan-Kåre Breivik, as well as my colleagues at The Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector in Norway (Bergen and Oslo). Funding Western Norway University for Applied Science has funded the work undertaken for this article by annual research grants. The content of the article relies on former research performed at The Centre for Research on Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture. References Dahlberg , L. 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