In a three-day CRC/ERC workshop, international researchers are discussing the influence of political practices and structures of European colonial powers on the development of social security in the Global South.

In her keynote at the start of the workshop "Colonialism and Social Protection" on 26 September, Gurminder Bhambra from the University of Sussex spoke about the varieties of European colonialism, which at the beginning had been shaped mainly by trade interests. From the middle of the 17th century, the focus had shifted to the expansion of the conquered territory. The prosperity of the European nation states - then as today - was based on colonialism, says Bhambra, which is still the root of global inequalities today. With regard to the colonial powers, she considers the term nation state to be inappropriate, imperial states or colonial empire more accurate.

Bastian Becker of SOCIUM explained in a presentation why an actor-centred research approach can provide important insights. After all, colonialism had been influenced by various actors at different levels (both within the colonies and on a transnational level).

Michele Mioni of SOCIUM explained the influence of Great Britain and France as well as international organisations on social policy in the (former) colonies after 1945. Mioni said that although the colonial powers and the IOs (ILO and UN) had different socio-political views, there had also been cooperation.

Jessica Lynne Pearson of Macalester College outlined colonial health policy. The first public health programmes were mass vaccination and mother-child programmes. In general, the focus of colonial health policy had been on prevention.

Marlous van Waijenburg of Harvard Business School analysed the fiscal policy of the colonial powers. One aim was to cover the costs of social policy programmes in the colonies through local taxes. The result was a wide range of different taxation systems within the colonial states, but taxation of labour (including forced labour) was typical.

The workshop "Colonialism and Social Protection", organised by Carina Schmitt, will enter its second round on 2 October and will end with a third session on 9 October.

Prof. Dr. Carina Schmitt
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Stra├če 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58603