Universalism has been the cornerstone of the United Nations' SDGs, (2015), pledging to achieve universalism, by 2030. The main aim of this research panel is to examine the complexity of universalism debates both theoretically and empirically through sector and country-specific case studies.
In the contexts of LMICS, universalism poses a specific set of challenges and opportunities. The panel objectives include identifying international social policy trends, challenges and innovations in the world with specific emphasis on: 1. Welfare regime dynamics: regarding economic and political factors (such as industrialisation and partisanship) which influence universalism. LMICS are in the process of upscaling their social protection systems and have adopted more innovative programmes such as micro-finance and conditional cash transfers. 2. Universalism versus Targeting: Country specific examples of how countries are choosing certain forms of social protection such as conditional cash transfers or contributory schemes as compared to unconditional non-contributory schemes. 3. Global social policy and SDG's debates on transnational legal and policy frameworks and diffusion in LMICs of varied social protection schemes. 4. Universalism and economic growth and their influence on sustainable financing of social policies when international donor funding dominant social protection financing or systems of taxation and social security might not be effective or efficient enough to fund social protection. The aspects of coverage, scale and depth of social protection measures in transforming absolute poverty and inclusive growth. 5. Citizenship, Nationalism and Identity: The role of public attitudes and perceptions on individual responsibility, poverty and migration and its influence on welfare state generosity. The influence of neo-populist governments on universalism and welfare state dynamics as well as local value-systems in LMIC contexts where sub-national identities (such as tribal, ethnic, religious) influence public opinion and civil society movements. References: UN (2015) Sustainable Development Goals