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.

Prof. Dr. Kiran Klaus Patel
Prof. Dr. Kiran Klaus Patel
Kiran Klaus Patel, Professor of European and Global History at Maastricht University, discusses his book "The New Deal: A Global History" with members of the CRC 1342.

Two years have passed since Kiran Klaus Patel, Professor of European and Global History at Maastricht University, published his book "The New Deal: A Global History". Nevertheless, Patel was happy to discuss it with members of the CRC 1342 on Wednesday. To look at one's own work after a certain time and at how it was received by colleagues is very revealing, Patel said.

So what is Patel's book about, which is said to have originated in an evening in a Zurich bar where Sven Beckert ("Empire of Cotton") and Kiran Klaus Patel sat, drank, discussed, and at the end of the day Patel went home with the idea of critically examining the myth of the New Deal for a book series published by Beckert? "The goal was to write American history differently," says Patel today, "to provide an alternative to traditional historiography." The New Deal, which was embedded in time between the global events of the Great Depression and the Second World War ("sandwiched between", as Patel so beautifully called it), is traditionally interpreted in the USA as a purely nation-state affair. In his book, Patel shows that the USA, with its economic and social reforms, is by no means an exception or even autonomous. There were very similar developments in many other countries at the time: "And with the New Deal the US was pretty much in the centre of the spectrum of political options," says Patel. Thus, the New Deal was by no means unique, but despite its mediocrity it was a game changer that laid the foundation for the leadership and international dominance of the US in the post-war period, Patel said.

The New Deal was not a stand-alone work of Roosevelt's government, but was created under the influence of international relations, which Patel documents in his book. Many scientists who advised the US government had previously studied in Europe. In addition, social policy experts from Europe were invited to present their views and experiences. Among them were scientists, especially from Sweden, who had previously studied in the USA and thus knew exactly how to successfully sell their ideas in Washington.

Of course, the USA did not completely take over the social and economic policy programmes of other countries: they chose elements that they considered appropriate from the portfolio of social policy options ("selective adaptation"). The result was the Social Security Act in the United States, which mainly addressed white male workers - much like in most European states.

After Patel had presented the most important arguments of his book, the question arose as to why the US had adopted certain social and economic policy elements, especially from Europe, but not promising variants from other regions of the world (e.g. Latin America and Japan). Patel explains this mainly with two arguments: On the one hand, existing, established links and networks of actors from politics and science had played an important role; on the other hand, the perception of kinship between the USA and Europe had played a major role, which also had racist elements: the decision-makers lived in a white, Eurocentric world.

At the time, the USA was not afraid to examine dictatorships including Nazi Germany for suitable social and economic programs. Patel explains this with the then widespread modernist assumption that political programs and instruments could be separated from the ideology of a state.

Patel was asked why he did not or only to a limited extent consider the question of power in his analysis of the New Deal. Patel replied that he had deliberately done so because otherwise the international relations and influences on the New Deal, which form the core of his book, would not have been given enough space.

Two years after the book was published, Patel self-critically noted that his book did not explain the New Deal and its origins in an exhaustive and comprehensive way. The quantitative dimension of the analysis is not sufficient, he said, and not only the New Deal itself but also Patel's own work has a European bias: Asian influences, for example, could be given much greater consideration, as could the role of local administrations and US states.

Some impressions from our "International Conference on Global Dynamics of Social Policy" on 25 and 26 October 2018 in Bremen.

The gallery with photos from the two conference days can be found on the Flickr page of the CRC 1342.


Contact:
Philipp Jarke
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58573
E-Mail: pjarke@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Armando Barrientos giving his keynote speech.
Prof. Armando Barrientos giving his keynote speech.
170 scholars from 35 nations met at the first conference of the Collaborative Research Centre 1342 "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" at the University of Bremen.

Worldwide there is an unimaginably large variety of social policy programmes with different scopes, levels of generousity and sources of financing. And this socio-political cosmos is constantly on the move. In their 85 presentations and three keynote speeches at the CRC 1342 conference, the participants addressed the question of how the interplay of domestic and international influences determines social policy worldwide. Leading international researchers presented their hypotheses and findings, including Prof. Armando Barrientos of the University of Manchester, Prof. Nicola Yeates of the Open University and Prof. Mitchell Orenstein of the University of Pennsylvania.

Barrientos showed in his speech that in low and middle income countries, spending on social assistance has increased significantly for some time now. According to Barrientos, classical theories of the welfare state do not provide a conclusive explanation for this development.
Yeates emphasised in her keynote that the scientific analysis of social policy should keep a close eye on its history, while Orenstein outlined his plan to develop a Social Impact of Transition Index to measure and compare the social consequences of the transition from a centrally planned to a market economy in the post-Soviet region.

This conference was a first milestone for the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy", whose central aim is to develop the Global Welfare State Information System (WeSIS): an interactive global social policy atlas with which the development of social policy can be analysed and visualised - from 1880 to the present day and at any scale. In a few years, the Global Social Policy Atlas WeSIS will be made available free of charge not only to academics but also to the general public.

The conference was characterised by an extremely cooperative working atmosphere in which the speakers received constructive feedback on their papers and presentations. On the evening of the first day of the conference, the participants were also received in the Bremeische Bürgerschaft by Prof. Dr. Eva Quante-Brandt, Senator of Science of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

Further information
Download the detailed conference programme.


Contact:
Philipp Jarke
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58573
E-Mail: pjarke@uni-bremen.de

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