Keywords: Social Investment State; Welfare Regimes; Neo-Liberalism; Labour Policies; Social Innovation; Edu-Care.
This article aims at a critical review of the strategy of social investment state, which according to the authors may be considered a special version of the «third way» proposed in the 1990s by Anthony Giddens. The article is organized in three parts. The first one has an anthological character, in that it seeks to reconstruct the origins and the developments of the thesis of social investment in the sociological and socio-political literature. The second part is a detailed analysis of the deeper goals of the social investment state, namely the intervention in the labour market, the reconciliation policies between productive and reproductive work, and the edu-care programmes in early childhood. The pros and cons of these policies are critically analysed and commented in the paper. Finally, the last part of the contribution introduces a reflection on «social innovation» as an instrumental complement to the productivistic character of the social investment strategy.