Keywords: Welfare State, Achille Ardigò, Social Policy, Political Legitimacy.
The article is a commentary to Achille Ardigò’s essay Introduction to the sociological analysis of the welfare state and its transformations published in 1977. It highlights the theoretical roots of Ardigò’s work and its capacity to anticipate issues and themes developed successfully in the welfare state literature. We focus on three contributions of his work: 1) to the historical sociology of the welfare state; 2) to the understanding of the specificity of the Italian welfare state; 3) to the analysis of the relationship between welfare and political legitimacy. The article concludes with a reflection on the welfare state as an object of sociological interest beyond the borders of the nation-state.