Health and Psychology in the Welfare State

The welfare state is threatened - looking at public health and everyday life

Friday May 25 at 10.15

What are the questions and are there some answers. Highlighted from a social-medicine, sociological and economic perspective. Denmark is one of the richest countries in the world. The Scandinavian welfare model is a desired model for many governments in the world. The wealth are concentrated on fewer hands, the population consists of more and more elderly people, who have  care needs. We talk about great inequality in Denmark - in lifetime, in relation to illness and functioning. The inequality between us and them is significant. Can we allow us to defend our welfare model - what are the questions and are there any answers?

Workshop participants:

Finn Diderichsen, Medical Doctor, Professor Emeritus, Social Medicine, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen (Living in Brazil)
Population health development – a challenge for the social investment welfare state.

Jørgen Elm Larsen, Sociologist, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen
The development and relation between social policy, poverty and health in the Danish welfare state

Jes Søgaard, Chief Economist at Danish Cancer Society, professor of health economics at University of Southern Denmark and University of Aarhus, Health
Internal threats to equity in health care access and health outcomes

The workshop is organized by Claus Vinther Nielsen, Professor, MD, ph.d., Institut for Folkesundhed, Aarhus University and DEFACTUM, Region Midtjylland. E-mail:; tlf: +45 2223 9488

Why Do We Care? On the Deep Origins of Solidarity

Friday May 25 at 13.00

The modern welfare state is one of the most impressive cultural interventions. On an unprecedented scale, the welfare state redistributes help and care from the fortunate to the unfortunate, buffering against the risks of unemployment, sickness and old age. But how is this even possible? Each day the welfare state requires that the fortunate are willing to make sacrifices - to pay their taxes - to help people they don't know, don't see and never meet. In this panel, we look at the origins of this solidarity. Leading researchers on the biology of social behavior will introduce the view that while the welfare state is a modern human intervention, the solidarity it rests upon is older than humans themselves. Humans and other primates are, by nature, caring animals and by understanding this, we are better able understand why people support the welfare state - and when they stop.

Workshop participants:

Henrik Høgh-Olesen, Aarhus University
Who Cares? Helping Behavior Among Humans and Other Primates

Oliver Curry, Oxford University
Why Do We Care? The Origins of Human Morality

Michael Bang Petersen, Aarhus University
When Do We Care? The Psychology of Welfare Support

Erik Kaastrup-Hansen, Aarhus Municipality (Socialdirektør)

The workshop is organized by Michael Bang Petersen, Professor PHD, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, e-mail: , phone:  +45 8716 5729

The Future Health Care System between Universalism and Individualized Medicine (panel)

Friday May 25 at 15.00

The health care system stands as one of the cornerstone of the Danish welfare state, and as one of the few policy areas where universalism is still relatively intact. Nevertheless, the sector is challenged by socio-demographic changes as well as by rising costs. The development of ‘individualized medicine’ may offer possibilities to improve the health outcome without necessarily raising cost, because therapies are tailored to the individual. This panel invites discussions of some of the promises and pitfalls of tailoring health care to the individual within the framework of a universal health care system. How is it possible to preserve privacy and status of the citizen in a future system that depends upon an increased use of aggregated health data about individuals?

Panel speakers:

Professor Carsten Obel, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University
Co-creation of a resilient New Nordic model of People’s Health and welfare- potentials and challenges

Professor Uffe Juul-Jensen, Department of Culture and Society, Aarhus University
Health in the welfare state. From Utopia to dystopia?

Professor MSO Ayo Wahlberg, Department of Anthropology, KU
Failing biologies and the problem of chronicity in the welfare state

Associate Professor Lars Thorup Larsen, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University
Has medical authority really been undermined by individualization and the state?

Panel chair: Lars Thorup Larsen, Department of Political Science, Aarhus University

The workshop is organized by Lars Thorup Larsen, Department of Political Science, Aarhus Univerity,
e-mail:, Telephone: +45 2674 8885