The history of the welfare states Denmark and Sweden is tightly interweaved with the history of Social Democracy. Our point of departure here is that this relationship is not as straightforward as the existing bulk of literature may suggest. We therefore try to set up a framework for studying the relationship between Social Democracy and the welfare state as being both ambivalent and complex. We start by formulating a historically grounded starting point: How did Social Democracy view the welfare state? Whatever criticism have been levelled between the 1960s and 1990s at the welfare state, and no matter whether they have been formulated inside Social Democracy or from different positions outside, there seems to be only one main political agent to answer to this criticism: Social Democracy itself
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