The international, interdisciplinary workshop ‘Conceptualizing a European Social Market Economy’ seeks to dissect the conceptual issues raised by the debate over the relationship between free markets and social protection in the European Union. This is a fundamental political and societal debate over the goals and future of European cooperation, but it also raises important conceptual issues.
Put succinctly, the existing conceptual frameworks are often not well suited to think about the challenges facing the EU since they tend to be rooted in domestic contexts. As a result, thinking about the balance between free markets and social protection at the European level requires rethinking these conceptual frameworks.
The aim of the workshop is to critically assess the nature of the concepts, theories and approaches we use to discuss the balance between free markets and social protection in the EU. We do this by focusing on four concepts and literatures that are central to this debate: ‘social justice’, ‘welfare states’, ‘varieties of capitalism’ and ‘economic constitution’.
Each concept forms its own subtheme within the workshop. During the discussion of each subtheme the speakers will briefly introduce their papers, which will also be distributed beforehand, but the main focus will be on a thorough discussing of the papers.