Scientific Programme • Keynote speakers

Jorma Sipilä

Professor emeritus, Institute for Advanced Social Research, University of Tampere, Finland

Preliminary title of the keynote talk:
“Nordic Welfare State: the home of universal services”

Former tasks:

  • Professor of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Tampere 1982–2009.
  • Rector 1998–2004 and Chancellor of the University of Tampere 2004–2009.
  • Chairman of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters 2012–2014.

Research interests: Welfare state theory and history, social policy, services for the elderly and children, cash-for-care arrangements. At the moment writing a book on State and Well-Being together with Anneli Anttonen.

Books in English:

  • Sipilä, Jorma & Repo, Katja & Rissanen Tapio (eds) (2010) Cash-for-Childcare: Consequences for Caring Mothers. Edward Elgar, 168pp.
  • Kröger, Teppo & Sipilä, Jorma (eds) (2005) Overstreched. European families up against the demands of work and care. Malden: Blackwell, 176pp.
  • Anttonen, Anneli & Baldock, John & Sipilä, Jorma (eds) (2003) The young, the old and the state. Social care systems in five industrial countries. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 206pp.
  • Sipilä Jorma (1997) (ed.) Social Care Services: The Key to the Scandinavian Welfare Model. Aldershot: Avebury, 198s. (in Japanese 2003)

Most exciting present and future developments in my field of aging research: (these issues may motivate any people who understand that their life is affected by government decisions.)

State policies are extremely important to everyone who works with the care of elderly people. Although we all perceive the strong trend towards privatization we find it difficult to think of a return to the 19th century. Thus, it is a big question how the state will take part in financing and organizing care services in the future.

Recently, governments have lost much of their ability to affect the economy. Financial capital on the one hand needs the stability and tax revenue that only state can provide, but on the other hand it wants to minimize the influence of the state. The transnational interventions of financial capital have particular influence on countries which are members of the EU and have adopted the euro, like Finland.

Nordic countries have been special with their public services manifesting humanity and woman-friendliness. These features are specific consequences of interventions made by exceptional states. On the other hand, the large role played by the state makes the Nordic model currently vulnerable. Public service financing is heavily based on tax revenues, and the level of benefits depends on the decisions of Parliament. In principle, services financed by health insurance are more secure because of the legality provided by individual contracts and premiums. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of services with universal coverage is that they must be funded by the government, especially as the Nordic governments no more function as they used to do.

What do I expect from 23NKG?

I hope to learn more of differences between the Nordic ways of thinking.


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