News

Here you can find the latest updates on the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy": summaries of current research results, references to our latest publications, outcomes of events and more news from the projects and their staff members.

Alex Nadège Ouedraogo, doctoral researcher in project B09, spent four weeks in Senegal. In two different regions, Dakar and Casamance, she explored the topic of her thesis: social policy related to food security.

Nadège, you have recently returned from a research trip. Where have you been?

I was at Dakar and I visited Ziguinchor, a city in the south of Senegal, that has seen conflicts for several years but now everything seems to be calm.

What was the purpose of your trip?

During the first week, I took part in a summer school in Dakar that was organised by the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and the Centre for African Studies Basel (CASB). The theme was: "African Studies and Africanists: Whence the Gaze?". As my parents are from Burkina Faso, I've been interested in working with Africans scholars and in Africa. It was interesting to be surrounded by other PhD students from the African continent. I learned a lot about doing a PhD and doing research in Africa. Well, and after that I stayed another week in Dakar collecting information to locate archives and networking. Then I travelled to the South during the third week to explore and learn about the region and came back to Dakar for the final week. These last three weeks of my trip were directly related to my PhD and the research within our B09 project while the first week was more about being a researcher in an African context.

What is you research about?

In our project B09 we are working on social policy in Africa, and in my case it's about social policy related to food security. My recent trip to Senegal helped me a lot to find a more particular and original angle from which to conduct my research.

How did this happen?

I did not make any appointments for any interviews before I started my research trip. I wanted to have first impressions of what's going on at the local level. I did not want to run into the government or NGOs straight away but rather meet and talk with the local population. That is what I did.

Could you already gather information or data that you can use for your research?

Not actually data. But I now know in which direction I want to conduct my research. Speaking with many local people and sitting with them on the market helped me a lot. I also visited some households that I got introduced to. I discussed with these people what they think about social policy and what it means to them. I soon realised that most of them do not even use those terms. It doesn't make sense for them. Most of them use the term public policy. This preliminary research trip helped me to adopt a certain position and a certain vocabulary. I also realised that for the locals food security depends on access to food. Access not so much in financial terms but rather in terms of transportation and local availability. Most people told me that they would like to buy certain kind of food but cannot find it. Or that it is produced for export exclusively. It was interesting to discover that food security is closely related to transport infrastructure and spatial planning.

Which language did you speak with the local people?

I spoke French. But most people in Senegal speak Wolof which I don't speak. That made it a bit harder to make sure people understand me and vice versa. But most of the time I had someone local who helped interpreting when people did not speak much French. But I will do my best to learn basics of Wolof soon.

What are your next steps?

Now I have to write my thesis proposal. Thanks to this preliminary field trip and the readings, I had done before I should be fine. Now I have ideas of how I want to conduct my research and it's more grounded because I've been in the country.

Have you planned next trips already?

If my thesis proposal is approved, I hope I will be able to go back to Senegal for a longer period of time. Time is really a constraint. I cannot leave all my activities here in Bremen but it's really important for my ethnographic research approach to be in the country and to stay as long as possible.


Contact:
Alex Nadège Ouedraogo
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 176 73 96 96 90
E-Mail: ouedraogo@uni-bremen.de

The project B05 team in Dalian
The project B05 team in Dalian
The project B05 team was invited by the Chinese Association of Social Security to the 14th International Forum on Social Security "Social Security and State Governance".

In mid-September, the project B05 team was invited by the CAOSS (Chinese Association of Social Security) to the 14th International Forum on Social Security "Social Security and State Governance", the biggest conference in East Asia on social security and social policy. The conference was organized by ILO (International Labor Organization), FES (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), KASP East Asia Research Committee, JASP's Section on Japan-East Asia Social Policy and CAOSS.

Tobias ten Brink presented the agenda of the CRC project as one of the keynote speeches, addressing the research of the CRC 1342 and the interest in China of project B05. The CRC project received great interest from both Chinese scholars and the international audience. Tao Liu from the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen participated in the round table discussions on the future of social protection as one of the speakers. During the two-day conference, the B05 team had a meeting with the president of CAOSS, Prof. Zheng Gongcheng at Renmin University, on future co-work and research cooperation. Team member Dr. Armin Müller, research fellow Tong Tian and Yuxin Li of Duisburg-Essen University also attended. The conference in Dalian tightened CRC 1342’s relations with researchers from East Asia.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research IV and China Global Center
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 200-3382
E-Mail: t.tenbrink@jacobs-university.de

The Collaborative Research Centre 1342 invites applications for the position of a PhD Researcher in Computer Science/Human-Computer Interaction, salary scale TV-L 13 (100%) starting as soon as possible.

The Collaborative Research Centre 1342 "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" at the University of Bremen invites applications for the following academic position – under the condition of job release -

PhD Researcher in Computer Science / Human-Computer Interaction

Salary Scale TV-L 13 (100%) starting as soon as possible. The position is a fixed term position until December 31, 2021.

Reference number: A189/18

The position is part of the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" (Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik) funded by the German Research Foundation and will be located within the project A01 "Measuring the global dynamics of social policy and cross-national interdependencies—Co-Creating the Global Welfare State Information System (WeSIS)".

Project Description

The project aims to quantify the dynamics of socio-political interdependencies between countries on a global scale. For this, a web-based information system will be developed, which allows a comprehensive analysis of such interdependencies and which will empower social scientists to leverage state-of-the-art machine learning and visualisation tools. This system will be co-created by an interdisciplinary team of 12 experts from the fields of political science, geography, and computer science. Together, we will envision, implement and evaluate novel software tools and techniques. The web-based information system will be the first to enable the dynamic measurement of social policy and horizontal and vertical interdependencies between countries on a global scale. WeSIS will also aggregate the findings of the collaborative research centre in a central space. Eventually, WeSIS will contain data on social policy, country-specific characteristics, and political, economic, and social interdependencies across states as well as the countries’ integration into international organisations.

The goal of our computer science team in this project is to do groundbreaking research in the interdisciplinary field of computational social science by developing innovative tools and methods to empower the social scientists, making use of the special opportunity to collaborate with experts from multiple fields within the Collaborative Research Centre.

Responsibilities

Our research questions will focus on the empowerment of social scientists through computational methods, especially in the areas of machine learning and data visualisation i.e., data science. Therefore, we are looking for a computer scientist interested in these areas.
Together with a large group of social scientists, we will co-create an information system that gives a holistic picture of the global welfare state, made available as a web platform. With this in mind, our role includes to lead the design of the system within the co-creation process and to apply human-computer interaction principles throughout the design, development, and evaluation.

Your focus will be the development of machine learning and natural language processing applications. You will support creating the database management system and the system infrastructure.

Requirements

  • Master’s degree in Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, Digital Media, Media Informatics, or a related field
  • programming experience in one or more object-oriented programming languages such as Python, Ruby, Java, or equivalent
  • experience with web development
  • experience with database design and development
  • fluency in English


Desirable

  • experience with machine learning
  • interest in advancing social science by envisioning and implementing computational social science tools
  • experience with computational social science
  • experience with user-centered and participatory design
  • experience with co-creation


The University of Bremen has received a number of awards for its diversity policies and offers a family-friendly working environment as well as an international atmosphere.
The University is committed to a policy of providing equal employment opportunities for both men and women alike, and therefore encourages particularly women to apply for the position offered. Persons with disabilities will be considered preferentially in case of equal qualifications and aptitudes.

The University of Bremen explicitly invites persons with a migration background to apply.
If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter (abreiter@uni-bremen.de).

Applications including a cover letter, CV, as well as copies of degree certificates, should be submitted until October 22, 2018 to

Information Management Research Group
Prof. Dr. Andreas Breiter
Am Fallturm 1 (Entrance F)
D-28359 Bremen

or by Email to:

Miss Ewa Zoschke (e.zoschkeuni-bremen.de)

The cost of application and presentation cannot be reimbursed.

Clara Fontdevila
Clara Fontdevila
Clara Fontdevila from the Autonomous University of Barcelona is currently staying at CRC 1342 as a guest researcher. In her PhD thesis she is investigating how UN’s global education agenda has been shaped.

Clara, you are sociologist and currently working on your PhD. What is your thesis about?

My thesis is about the post-2015 global education agenda integrated within the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This agenda is also known as Education 2030 and is regarded as a landmark in the history of global targeting in education. I try to understand the community of practice that is linked to development of targets and the indicators. I address this from a political-sociology perspective. I am looking at who was and is involved in the process? What was the varying influence of these collective and individual actors? Which networks emerged? And which are the key mechanisms of consensus-building, or to what extend is there a conflict of interests?

Which actors are you looking at especially?
I am looking at collective actors like International Organisations, NGOs and national bureaucracies. But I am also interested in the role of individual actors within these collective actors. In order to understand possible brokers or policy entrepreneurs and where they are located within these networks.

At what stage of your PhD are you?

I am in my third year now.

Have you collected most of your data by now?

Not yet. The data collection has proved the most challenging aspect. I am conduction semi-structured interviews, and making appointments with the actors is very time-consuming. And I have also tried to conduct ethnographic-oriented observations of key meetings, in order to understand what is going on, what are the conventions and patterns of communication, and which are their effects in terms of distribution of power.

And when do you plan to finish?

I would like to finish by the end of next year. The whole process took longer than I expected. And I am not working full-time on my PhD thesis, I am involved in other research projects as well and I also do some teaching.

What brought you to Bremen?

I read a lot of Kerstin Martens’ work and of Dennis Niemann. I have been following their work for a long time. Also, the recently approved collaborative research centre got approved Bremen seemed to be a really interesting place to go to.

Are you involved in Kerstin’s CRC project?

No, I enjoy the exchange with Kerstin and her colleagues, but I am not involved in any of her work. I am purely a guest researcher here and I try to make the most of the chance to focus on my thesis.

 

Clara Fontdevila's profile on academia.edu.

Meeting at the Jacobs University Bremen
Meeting at the Jacobs University Bremen
Four scientists from the Centre for International Social Security Studies met with CRC 1342 members to exchange their views on pension reforms in China and Germany.

At the beginning of July a delegation from the Centre for International Social Security Studies (CISS) at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) came to visit the China Global Center at Jacobs University Bremen, and was warmly welcomed by the Dean of Jacobs University Bremen, Prof. Arvid Kappas. It was the first time Director Prof. Bingwen Zheng, General Secretary Prof. Lianquan Fang, associate Professor Chuanjun Qi and associate Professor Peng Guo visited Bremen.

During the meeting, Professor Tobias ten Brink delivered a presentation about the CRC 1342 project B05 "Dynamics of Chinese social policy. Interplay of national and international influences", which he and Professor Tao Liu at Duisburg-Essen University are directing. Tao Liu afterwards explained to the guests Germany’s Riester pension reform in detail. Peng Guo presented an update on the dynamics and reforms of Chinese old-age insurance. Dr. Armin Müller, Dr. Fei Wang, research fellow Tong Tian and Yuxin Li of Duisburg-Essen University also attended the meeting.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research IV and China Global Center
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 200-3382
E-Mail: t.tenbrink@jacobs-university.de

Sigrid Lupieri
Sigrid Lupieri
Lupieri is a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge and will stay in Bremen for three months, collaborating with project A04.

Thanks to the generous support of an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation grant, we are delighted to be hosting Sigrid Lupieri at the CRC and SOCIUM as a guest researcher for the period of 01 September to 30 November 2018. As a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, her research analyses the factors influencing the allocation of health care resources to older Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Ms. Lupieri's previous experience includes working at UNESCO and UNDP in New Delhi and New York, as well as several years as a journalist in Armenia, Georgia, Germany and the U.S. She holds master’s degrees in journalism (Northwestern University) and modern European history (University of Cambridge), and a BA in foreign languages and literatures from the University of Udine, Italy. During her stay at our center, Ms. Lupieri will be working in close collaboration with the A04 project.


Contact:
Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58561
E-Mail: frisina@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
In an interview Johanna Kuhlmann, who moved from TU Braunschweig to the CRC 1342, explains why social policy combines the small things with the big picture and why it appeals to her to discover something new in the familiar.

You're a political scientist. When did you know this was the right job for you?

At least not when I started studying. I studied political science and German language and literature and at the beginning I had no concrete idea of what I wanted to become. Journalism was an idea, but that was very vague. I then did several internships related to political science and German literature.

What exactly?

I have worked in a ministry and with a member of the Bundestag, but also in a literature research institute. I knew I wanted to work in political science when I had my first job as a student assistant at university.

That was still in Münster, right?

Yes, I really liked that, because my professor at the time directly involved the student assistants in his research. I was involved in many discussions and could participate in research. I quickly got a comprehensive insight. So I thought: This mitght be it.

What are you interested in social policy?

When I started studying social policy, I was particularly interested in strategic aspects, specifically: Why do political actors cut social benefits that are essential for many people voting fir them? That was a few years after the Agenda 2010 reforms. My dissertation then focused more on the content dimension of social policy, i.e. how exactly does the provision of social policy services actually change? And how can this be explained - beyond strategic aspects? Even if social policy is incredibly small-scale and one can deal for a long time with paragraphs of individual social laws: Changes in social policy always make statements about the basic principles of social coexistence and about the question of what role the state is prepared to take in providing welfare for citizens.

Why did you swap your post-doc position in Braunschweig for your new position in the CRC?

Because I was very interested in the conceptual design of the CRC as a whole and the project in which I am now working. The project aims to bundle the results of the other case study centred projects and to explain the causal mechanisms that lead to the dissemination of social policy. In this way, an independent theoretical contribution is to be made. That's what attracted me. I am not a pure theorist and have also worked empirically during my doctoral thesis. But I do have a "weakness" for theoretical questions. I have also focused on European welfare states so far. One starting point of the CRC is: We know a great deal about OECD welfare systems, but far less about other welfare systems. That's a lot like me.

And you didn't find that discouraging, but appealing?

Absolutely. That's what scientific work is all about, namely uncovering blind spots. I am familiar with the fundamental debates and theoretical points of reference of the CRC, which will initially be the focus of my work in the project. But the social policies of many non-OECD countries, especially in detail, are new territory for me. Because in our project, which has no empirical element of its own, we will look a lot into the other projects, I expect a lot from it.


Contact:
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58574
E-Mail: johanna.kuhlmann@uni-bremen.de