.Arno Van Hootegem is a Doctoral Researcher at the Centre for Sociological Research (KU Leuven), where he is conducting a project on public opinion towards distributive justice. His PhD fellowship was awarded by Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and he has published empirical papers in journals like Social Justice Research, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Acta Sociologica and Political Psychology. Other research interests concern poverty attributions, attitudes towards contemporary welfare reforms (e.g. basic income and activation policies) and anti-immigrant sentiments.
The fundamental multidimensionality of attitudes towards the welfare state has been recognized and well-documented by researchers in the field. In particular, besides public preferences on the goals, range and degree of redistribution, scholars distinguish attitudes on the design, implementation process and outcomes of welfare states. Yet, despite the identification of these sub-dimensions, most research has focused on the evaluation and comparison of more positive aspects of welfare state attitudes, such as the range and degree, which generally cater larger public support. As a result, in this presentation, I will zoom in on the more innovative and underexplored frameworks that connect to the design, implementation and outcomes of welfare state structures. By giving examples from empirical papers on deservingness, distributive justice, welfare chauvinism, welfare state criticism and poverty attributions, I will try to provide more detailed insight into how these frameworks can answer important questions in light of the changing nature of European welfare states. In doing so, the lecture focuses not only on the theoretical concepts and measurements, but also on the underlying micro- and macro-level determinants that might help explain these multidimensional welfare attitudes and the societal conflicts surrounding them.