Journal of Social Change




This article attempts to utilize the concept of social change for the study of transformations in the Greek welfare state during the period of the multiple crises it is currently experiencing (2010–2020). This will be done through an analysis of the changes taking place in the Greek social security system, the backbone of social policy in Greece. The main argument is that, although there are fundamental differences in the development of the Greek welfare state compared to the welfare model of Western European countries, in the last decade there has been a convergence towards a neoliberal model of social policy. The elaboration of this claim will examine those theories of social change that attempt to explain the transition from the Keynesian to the neoliberal welfare state both in the period after 1970 and in the period after the Great Recession of 2008. The development of the Greek social security system over time is then examined, with a particular focus on the decade from 2010–2020. This will show that, despite the different context for the development of the social security system in Greece, the reforms imposed by austerity policies in the last decade have led to a convergence with the model of the neoliberal welfare state. The trend towards residualization and privatization of the social security system with a focus solely on the management of extreme poverty can be observed as one of the mechanisms of social change that are being adopted.