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Divide, Provide and Rule

An Integrative History of Poverty Policy, Social Reform, and Social Policy in Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy

Susan Zimmermann
, Central European University, Budapest

A concise and comprehensive account of the transformation of social policy from traditional poor relief towards social insurance systems in a European state before World War One.
Brings together the analysis of older, mostly local welfare policies with the history of social policy developed by the state and operated at a national level. Explores also the interaction of various layers of and actors in welfare policy, i.e. of poor relief, social reform policies and the unfolding welfare state over time, including often neglected elements of these policies such as e.g. protective policies at the work place, housing policy, child protection, and prostitution policies.
Demonstrates how definitions of what constituted need have served historically to produce divergent visions and treatment of male and female poverty, and how these historical biases have continued to shape the conceptual apparatus of research into the history of welfare and social policies.


Preface I. Introduction II. Poverty Policy II.1. Traditions and Ways of Private and Public Poor Relief in the Context of Limited Civic Self-development (1848 to the beginning of the 1860’s) II.2. The Legal Foundations of Poverty Policy in Flux (1860’s to 1914) II.3. The Development and Practice of Poverty Policy (1860’s to 1914) II.3.1. The Two Sides of Poverty Policy: General Trends II.3.2. The Practice of Poor Relief as Provision II.3.3. The Practice of Poverty Policy as the Suppression of Poverty III. Social Reform and State Intervention (1898 to 1914) III.1. Child Protection III.2. Housing Policy III.3. Unemployment and Labor Market Policy IV. State Social Policy IV.1. Labor Protection (1848 to 1914) IV.1.1. Protection in Industry and Trade as differentiated according to the character of the work IV.1.2. Protection for Children, Juveniles and Women as groups defined according to their personal characteristics IV.1.3. Labor Protection for Non-Industrial Workers IV.2. Social Insurance and Workplace-related Social Policy (1880s to 1914) IV.2.1. Sectors and Types of Health and Accident Insurance: Origins, Development and Interests IV.2.2. Institution and Policy IV.2.3. Coverage, Boundaries, Dissociations and Relations: Social Insurance and the Formation and Differentiation of Working and Living Conditions Coverage: Overview and Comparison of Long-term Trends Compulsory Insurance of Workers and Differentiation of Commercial Labour Relations Compulsory Insurance of Male and Female Workers Compulsory Insurance of Workers in Agriculture Social Insurance and Welfare V. Conclusion Bibliography Tables Illustrations

200 pages, 10 black-and-white illustrations
ISBN 978-615-5053-19-1 cloth $45.00 / €40.00 / £35.00

"In her most recent book, historian Susan Zimmermann provides a study that tries to integrate diff erent aspects of welfare policies in the Hungarian part of the Habsburg empire. This study makes an important contribution to our understanding of power relations in Hungarian society before World War I. Zimmermann hopes that the volume will provide the basis for specialists in the social and welfare policies of other regions to engage in comparative research. Despite its brevity, with a text of only 154 pages, this book is a focused, rich, thorough study of diff erent aspects of poverty policies and the evolution of the Hungarian welfare state. It off ers a decidedly critical view of the elites of that period, who “succeeded in avoiding responsibility for a significant part of the social costs of industrialization”. - Slavic Review

"As Susan Zimmermann makes clear in the Introduction, “need-related policies” in Hungary during Habsburg rule 'simultaneously entailed strategies of inclusion and exclusion'. The various forms of social provision pursued on a variety of levels thus reflected not simply a correspondence between need and welfare, but also officials’ repression and control of, or ignorance toward, poverty.
Zimmermann is the first historian stressing to this degree the close relationship between the
poverty policy exercised as public poor relief and a gradually stronger policy of social control or even state repression.
The most elaborate and conceptually and empirically plausible parts of the book are the ones in which the author discusses the process of establishing a compulsory social insurance system, including health insurance (1891) and then accident insurance (1907). Both of these were available exclusively to industrial laborers. These steps were taken, Zimmermann maintains, in order to strengthen the internal integration of Hungarian society.
The most important new findings in Zimmermann’s book lie in the detailed and careful description of the organizational makeup and the daily operation of the new compulsory social insurance system set up in the 1900s.
Zimmermann makes extensive use of primary sources, although she favors published materials (reports from state, charities and other organizations, laws, and additional local materials). Archival sources are also used in a few cases.
Overall, Susan Zimmermann’s book reconstructs the unique path that fin-de-siècle Hungary took in slowly becoming a welfare state and greatly helps us to reconsider the main trajectory of Hungary’s history". - Austrian History Yearbook