Securing one's livelihood. Philanthropy in a mixed economy of welfare in the early 20th century

Matter, Sonja (2015). Securing one's livelihood. Philanthropy in a mixed economy of welfare in the early 20th century. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaften, 2015(3), pp. 57-79. Studienverlag, Innsbruck

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Since the late 19th century different social actors have played an important role in providing social security in Switzerland. Cooperatives, philanthropic organisations, social insurances, and the poor relief of the communes were all part of a "mixed economy of welfare". This article examines how the different actors in this "mixed economy" worked together, and asks what forms of help they supplied. It raises the question of whether a dichotomy between public and private forms of relief can be traced in the Swiss case. Did democratically legitimised processes of redistribution shape the social security system? Or was social security rather funded by private relief programs? The author argues that in the early 20th century, a complex public-private mix structured the Swiss welfare state and the poor often depended on both public and private funding. In this system, financially potent philanthropic organisations successfully contested the legal power of public actors.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Swiss History

UniBE Contributor:

Matter, Sonja


900 History > 940 History of Europe




Studienverlag, Innsbruck




Carole Zoé Mast

Date Deposited:

25 Apr 2016 16:26

Last Modified:

14 May 2020 08:54


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