Ideology and the Social Sciences

By Graham C. Kinloch; Raj P. Mohan | Go to book overview

5
Changing Professional Ideologies of Finnish Sociology

IIkka Pirttilä and Jaakko Nuotio


RESEARCH AT THE CROSSROADS IN THE CHANGING WELFARE STATE

Since the Second World War many European countries have become wealth-based societies. Despite high living standards, highly developed production technology, and massive production of scientific knowledge, social problems such as mass unemployment characterize the lives of many people in various Western countries. Moreover, the solutions presented by politicians and social scientists often appear to be insufficient.

Some social theorists have suggested that today's Western societies can be characterized through the notions of complexity, dynamism, and reflexivity ( Beck, Giddens, and Lash 1994; Scott 1997; Stehr 1994). Traditions are being transformed into fragmented narratives and the traditional authorities have been replaced with the specialist expert. Spatial and temporal restrictions are in the process of vanishing because of international data communication networks and the impact of global mass media. The dynamics of social change have become violent and people face continuous uncertainty.

In the Scandinavian countries the state has traditionally organized a wide variety of services in various areas of economic and social life. The life of an individual person has also become the object of governing and diverse public planning. During the construction period of the welfare state in particular, social scientists functioned in a very prominent role: they were

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