CRC member Laura Seelkopf and her colleague Peter Starke from the University of Southern Denmark have edited a special edition of the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, the print version of which has now been published. "Social Policy by Other Means" is the title of the issue, which highlights unconventional forms of social policy and relates their development to traditional instruments of social policy.
Seelkopf and Starke write in their introduction that conventional social policy research ignores important aspects: such as tolerating squatting and electricity theft, church hospitals, and regulating labour migration. According to Seelkopf and Starke, all of these are forms of social policy by other means: a) as functional equivalents of state social policy or b) as measures of non-state actors.
Agricultural subsidies, for example, serve not only to secure food supplies, but also - often above all - to stabilise and increase the household income of the rural population. And if state bodies ignore or do not pursue illegal diversion of electricity or occupation of housing, this can also be interpreted as a measure to achieve socio-political goals without using traditional socio-political instruments.
If social policy by other means continues to be ignored, write Seelkopf and Starke, social policy research risks overlooking important aspects of social protection, redistribution and economic stabilisation. Finally, they outline an agenda with which social policy research can better understand these "other" aspects and integrate them into existing theories.
Seelkopfs and Starkes introduction as well as all other articles of the special edition are available online.
Prof. Dr. Laura Seelkopf
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science
Phone: +49 89 2180-9086