From the Working Class Issue to Welfare State: a short Review

Tuesday, 15. October 2013 | 14:00 Uhr


Brigitte Studer


University Bern


Professor Brigitte Studer of the University of Berne’s History Department dealt with the history of the origin and development of modern social security systems to the present with a focus on Switzerland.
The presentation provided a critical overview of the various phases of social security in Switzerland. Even though from the end of the 19th century, new social policy paradigms were established and with the First World War the public began to subsidize private welfare organizations, it was not until the Second World War that the Swiss welfare state entered its take-off phase. Only then were the first general and compulsory social insurances with financial risk compensation introduced.
In this retrospective, three particular points can be highlighted: first, the Swiss social security system is institutionally fragmented and remained only slightly centralized. Second, a long development time, the diversity of the actors, the weak federal powers in the federalist system have led to a pluralistic or even hybrid system. It cannot be assigned to one of the three welfare systems. And third, social security is always the result of socio-political negotiations and decisions.
For further details, please see the video.

Presentation of Professor Brigitte Studer

Brigitte Studer

2010 Senior research fellow at University of London, Institute of Historical
2008 – 2009 Scientific Committee of the Swiss Network for International Studies in Geneva (SNIS), Geneva
2002 – 2007 Research Councilor of the Swiss National Science Found., Department I
2001 Election to Scientific Council of the Human and Social Sciences Department, CNRS, Paris
2001 – 2004 Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
1998 – 2001 Foundation Councilor of Science et Cité
1997 Visiting Fellow at the Institute of History at the Vienna University
Since 1997 Full Professor for Swiss and Modern General History at the University of Berne
1996 Substitute Lecturer at the Institute of History at the University of Zurich
(Lecturer Rudolf Braun)
1995 – 1997 Lecturer at the University of Geneva, Economic and Social Sciences Department
1995 Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis/ Missouri, USA
1995 Lecturer at Institute for History at the University of Zurich
1994 – 1996 Research director of issue project «Chiffrierte Telegramme der Komintern», University of Lausanne, in collaboration with the Institute of World History of the Academia of Sciences/Moscow and the Russian Center for Storage and Research of Modern History Documents /Moscow.
1994 Doctoral thesis in political sciences (History) (Ph.D.), University of Lausanne with a thesis on Communist International and its Swiss branch in the 1930, awarded with the
Prix François Hauser as «lauréate» of the University of Lausanne.
1993 – 1995 Collaborator and co-applicant of research project «Zwischen Schutz und Diskriminierung. Zum Wandel der Sonderschutzgesetzgebung für Frauen im schweizerischen Arbeitsrecht des 20. Jahrhunderts», University of Basel.
1991 – 1992 Doctoral training at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris with a scholarship for young scientists from the Swiss National Science Foundation and a scholarship from the “Foundation of the 450th Anniversary of the University of Lausanne”.
1985 – 1991 Research Assistant at the University of Lausanne.

Donators and Partners

The ETH Board is responsible for the strategic leadership of the ETH domain and assumes the supervision of its institutions. Its close relationship with the ETH Council has contributed to the successful continuation of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2000.

The Foundation promotes research into the connecting human fundamentals of science. Academia Engelberg Foundation and the Foundation for Basic Research in Human Sciences have entered into a cooperation agreement for the period 2011 to 2015.

Helvetia is a quality-oriented comprehensive insurance company with over 150 years of experience. Academia Engelberg Foundation is convinced it will be able to use important synergies from the partnership starting in 2015.

DIE HIRSCHMANN STIFTUNG ist eine gemeinnützige schweizerische Stiftung. 1985 wurde sie vom Unternehmer und Aviatik-Pionier Carl W. Hirschmann gegründet.

A partnership with the University of Lucerne has existed since summer 2013. Since 2016 we have also a parthership with the Faculty of Economics and Management of the University of Lucerne. Through these partnerships, synergies are used and joint projects are tested and realized. The University of Lucerne currently consists of three faculties: the faculties for Theology, Culture and Social Sciences, and Law.

The focus of the Foundation is the promotion of organizations in the areas of culture and arts, architecture, design, music, sports, education, and science. It has been a partner of Academia Engelberg Foundation since 2014.