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.


Open Campus 2019
Open Campus 2019
On 15 June, the University of Bremen had invited to an Open Day. Together with other social science research institutions, the CRC 1342 organised a colourful programme of events.

Pictures of the event you can find here.


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

Mareike Müller-Scheffsky
Mareike Müller-Scheffsky
As the first CRC 1342 intern, Mareike Müller-Scheffsky spent three months working in the project A05. In this interview, she talks about her experience and future plans.

In her 6th semester, Mareike Müller-Scheffsky is studying sociology at the Universiry of Bremen. 8 weeks of full-time internship are part of the curriculum. Mareike chose to spend that time in our project "The Global Development, Diffusion and Transformation of Education Systems", working 25 hours per week. Therefore her internship lasted for three months.

How did you decide to do an internship at the CRC?

I'm simply very interested in research and I'm in the process of specialising within my studies, also with regard to my Bachelor's thesis. I've done a lot of sociological political theory so far, but I also wanted to get an insight into political science to see if I wanted to move in that direction. That's why I applied to the project leader Kerstin Martens.

What did you do during your internship?

I was well involved in the project and worked on various things. Looking back, there were three phases: In the beginning I worked on similar tasks as the student assistants in the project: mainly collecting data and creating country profiles. Then I wrote a manual for the work on the country profiles, based on my experiences and those of the student assistants. Helen Seitzer and Fabian Besche, with whom I mainly worked during my internship, wanted something in writing to guide new assistants. However, the manual also serves as an intersubjective tool for the colleagues from the other subprojects. I was very free in my work and also wrote quite a lot - about 25 pages.

What was the third phase of your internship?

I worked statistically. I received a half-finished CSV file with data on the introduction date and duration of compulsory primary education, which I was then able to complete for the most part. Then the data had to be transferred to R, which was new for me. I had no experience with R up to that point. In R, I converted the data set to another format so that certain things could be displayed. I did a missing analysis and looked, for example: In which years do we have no data at all? Later I made many graphs on the topic of how and when compulsory education got introduced in the countries. I had 214 countries with data for a period from 1880 to 2017. It is not easy to present this clearly. But after the coding it worked quite well and can also be used in the project for further analysis.

So, you were able to learn something from the internship.

Absolutely. During our sociology studies we worked almost exclusively with the Stata software and only with perfect data sets. Using R was instructive. But it was also important to see that quite simple tasks in practice can suddenly get quite complicated. Then you have to bite your way through it. Apart from the work I have just desribed, I went to many meetings during the internship, to a multi-project retreat and a co-creation workshop. In this way I also got to know the other CRC projects. At the workshop I had to explain what I was currently working on. It was difficult to explain spot on to the computer scientists involved in the CRC what I was currently working on, but it worked. Anyway, I was impressed by the great charts they made out of it.

Would you recommend other students to do an internship at CRC 1342?

Definitely! I was very free in my work, which I liked. Helen and Fabian wanted me to do a lot of new and different things in order to learn more. I could get in touch with them at any time, but you also have to do that if you don't make any progress. Because especially if you haven't worked a lot with data sets yet, the tasks can be a challenge. But I didn't feel overtaxed either. It was just about right.

What's the next step for you?

I will graduate with a Bachelor's degree by March 2020. I'm going to do a master's programme after my Bachelor's. In Utrecht there is a quite an interesting social research master’s programme, in Berlin there are interesting programmes, too. Afterwards I would like to stay at university and do something research-centred.

Thank you very much for the interview and good luck for your future!

Two-Day workshop in Bremen
Two-Day workshop in Bremen
Our CRC’s project area A hosted a two-day workshop with international scholars discussing the influence International Organisations have in shaping social policy. The papers presented are planned to be published in our CRC book series.

International Organisations (IOs) are vibrant actors in global social governance. They provide forums for exchange, contention and cooperation; they prepare, guide and supervise international treaties; they direct, finance, and implement projects and they exercise many more duties. The study of IOs in general has tremendously improved in recent decades. However, our knowledge about the involvement, influence and impact of IOs varies significantly by policy fields. While scholarship on IOs focuses often on issues areas like security, economics or environmental policies, we know comparatively little about IOs in issues areas related to social policies.

To address and to start to fill this gap, at the end of May 2019 Kerstin Martens and Dennis Niemann of the CRC 1342 in cooperation with Alexandra Kaasch (Institute for World Society Studies, University of Bielefeld) hosted a workshop with international scholars who are currently doing research on the IOs’ influence on social policy. International presenters included Nicola Yeates, Rianne Mahon, Ross Fergusson, Martin Heneghan, Jeremy Schmidt, Chris Deeming and Matias Margulis All presentations underscored that IOs are involved in shaping social policy for a long time, marked particularly by ILO’s 100th anniversary. The researchers jointly pointed out that the UN and their conventions are a major factor in the dynamics of social policy, with the ILO being the most prominent agency. The next most important players are the World Bank and the OECD which often have a different, more economy-oriented view of social policies. These three IOs almost dominate the field of "IOs in social policy". Many smaller IOs also deal with social policies, but tend to have a regional scope.

The interaction of IOs in social policy fields ranges from cooperation (e.g. WHO, ILO and OECD in care and migration) to contestation (e.g. ILO and World Bank in pension issues). The influence on the social policy discourse varies, but in general IOs are exercising soft governance as broadcasters of new ideas – which has been the focus of this workshop. In developing and disseminating ideas, discourses of IOs are shaped by their membership rules, institutional design of decision-making and prevailing path dependencies. The discourses the IOs are taking part in one field are often interlinked to other discourses in other fields.

The papers that have been presented at the workshop will be revised during summer and are planned to be published as an edited book in 2020.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Dennis Niemann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67473
E-Mail: dniemann@uni-bremen.de

The Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences and the CRC 1342 have retreated three days to Krummendeich for presentations and discussions of research projects.

The gallery with photos from the event can be found on the Flickr page of 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 Dr Kerstin Martens
Prof Dr Kerstin Martens
Kerstin Martens talks to Deutschlandfunk about the role of the EU in shaping Europe's education systems.

Kerstin Martens talks to Deutschlandfunk about the role of the EU in shaping Europe's education systems. The EU is a late starter in this field and its influence is mainly limited to vocational and university education. Actors such as the OECD have a much stronger influence on education systems. Martens and other colleagues from the SFB 1342 are currently hosting an international workshop in Bremen on the influence of such international organisations on social policy.

The interview with Kerstin Martens on EU education policy can be read and listened to on the Deutschlandfunk website.

During the two-day workshop "The Architecture of Arguments in Global Social Governance - Examining the Community and Discourses of International Organizations in Social Policies", Kerstin Martens and Dennis Niemann will present parts of their work on the role of international organisations in education policy. The title of their lecture is: Global Discourses, Regional Framings and Individual Showcasing: Analyzing the World of Education IOs.

The detailed programme of the workshop can be found here: The Architecture of Arguments in Global Social Governance - Examining the Community and Discourses of International Organizations in Social Policies


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de

Prof Lutz Leisering, PhD
Prof Lutz Leisering, PhD
After 20 years as Professor of Social Policy at Bielefeld University, Leisering officially retires. However, he continues his research and remains member of the advisory board of CRC 1342.

Lutz Leisering, member of the scientific advisory board of the CRC 1342, gave his farewell lecture on 8 May 2019 after 20 years as Professor of Social Policy at the University of Bielefeld. The lecture entitled "Sind soziale Rechte universalierbar?" was part of a two-day symposium on comparative and international social policy research in which the CRC 1342 members Tao Liu and Frank Nullmeier also participated.

Lutz Leisering will remain active in social policy research even after his official farewell : He continues his research projects on the social policy of Turkey and the social policy of the BICS states.

Greta-Marleen Strorath
Greta-Marleen Strorath
Greta-Marleen Storath does research on long-term care and migration. She recently travelled to Sweden to conduct interviews with experts.

Greta-Marleen, you are writing your PhD thesis on long-term care and migration in Sweden which is why you were recently on a research trip. What exactly did you do?

In March I was in Sweden for two weeks for a first explorative trip, where I met other scientists to conduct interviews and to establish networks. I went to Lund, Uppsala and Stockholm, where I met ten people in total.

What was your objective of this trip and interviews?

In the interviews with the experts, I wanted to compare their perspective with the image of Sweden drawn from the outside. The reason for this is that different images of Sweden are being presented in science. In Germany an almost envious look prevails: Sweden has a very well-developed care system, with a large public sector and a broad concept of care. For a long time there was the assumption that migration hardly played any role in Sweden. Especially in recent years, however, there have been many Swedish studies that go into greater depth and show that a great deal has changed in Sweden, especially in the area of nursing care for the elderly. In the last ten to twenty years there has been a large influx of migrants in care. It is precisely these changes that I find particularly exciting. It was very interesting to hear the views of experts who study this on a daily basis.

How did you know which researchers to approach?

Once through the literature I had read, I also met a researcher from Sweden at the NordWel Summer School in Helsinki: I visited her and she told me about other people who could help me.

How did you prepare for the trip?

I had prepared a guideline for the interviews that I always adapted to the people and their research. The questions were relatively open in order to be able to react to the course of the interview and to modify the questions accordingly. For example, in the first interview we talked a lot about gender equality, which is a central feature of the Swedish welfare state and of great importance for all social policy areas. In the discussion it became clear, however, that gender issues are not so strongly discussed in the area of long-term care, in contrast to childcare and other fields. I incorporated this interesting aspect into the later interviews.

Does this mean that there are many men working in long-term care in Sweden or that gender equality is not such a big issue in that sector?

In Sweden, too, most carers are women. In the field of child care, there is much more discussion about the need to distribute care tasks equally between men and women in families. In long-term care this is not negotiated nearly as strongly.

Is this also due to the fact that in Sweden a lot of long-term care is provided by the state and less by the family?

Yes, the state plays a central role in long-term care. The majority of care for the elderly is provided by the municipalities. It is only natural for people of old age to have someone coming into their homes and taking care of them. Nevertheless, the discussions also revealed that many aspects of care are provided by the families. This aspect is often neglected because this share is much lower than in other European countries. Nevertheless, the family is a central and important pillar.

Were there any particular lucky coincidences during your research?

I met a very exciting scientist in Stockholm who is doing research in a very similar field to mine. I hadn't even planned for him before, but only came across him through a recommendation. We then met quite spontaneously, and it became a very exciting conversation.

Did you transcribe the interviews immediately? Or did you do something different to clear your head?

I always had a small notebook with me in which I took notes, even during the interviews, and then sat down somewhere with it and wrote a post script: What the most important aspects of the interview were, what worked well and what didn't. The detailed transcription will follow now.

Do you already have - before having evaluated the interviews - an idea in which direction your work will develop?

In any case, I know that I will be going back to Sweden in September. What became apparent: There are national policies in Sweden that provide guidelines for long-term care. The municipalities then play a central role in the implementation of these guidelines at the local level. They organise care and translate the national guidelines in different ways.
I definitely know I'm going back to Sweden in September. What has crystallized out of it: There are national policies that provide guidelines for care. The municipalities then play a central role in implementing these guidelines at local level. They organise care and translate the national guidelines in different ways. That is why, after this first research trip, I decided that I will to go to Stockholm first to talk to experts at the national level. I will then select four different municipalities and examine in detail how their administrations work, what role they play in implementing national policies and how they organise and deliver care in different ways. I will probably start with the first municipality in September and then go to the other municipalities next year.


Contact:
Greta-Marleen Storath
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57068
E-Mail: gm.storath@uni-bremen.de

Fabian Besche
Fabian Besche
During the information day of the University of Bremen, 25 high school graduates visited the Collaborative Research Centre 1342.

25 prospective students visited the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" on Wednesday afternoon. During the one-hour event, they gained insights into the organisation and research work of the CRC and the working lives of the participating scientists.

First, managing director Irina Wiegand gave an overview of the structure and topics of the CRC 1342. Fabian Besche and Kristin Noack then presented their research projects in detail. Afterwards, the high school graduates asked questions - they were interested in the research projects as well as in the possibilities that social policy research offers as an occupational field.

The presentation at the CRC 1342 was part of the annual information day for prospective students at the University of Bremen.


Contact:
Fabian Besche
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57066
E-Mail: fbesche@uni-bremen.de

Kristin Noack
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58604
E-Mail: knoack@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Irina Wiegand
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58508
E-Mail: irina.wiegand@uni-bremen.de

Prof Dr Frank Nullmeier at the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs
Prof Dr Frank Nullmeier at the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs
CRC member Frank Nullmeier was consulted as an expert in the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs as to whether proposals of the opposition parties were suitable for tackling old-age poverty.

The political discussions about a basic pension as an instrument against poverty in old age are gaining momentum. Even before the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, presented a draft law, the four opposition parties each presented their own basic pension concepts to the Bundestag. On Monday, experts were heard in the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs, including Frank Nullmeier of the Collaborative Research Centre Global Dynamics of Social Policy.

The central topic of the hearings was whether poverty should be tackled within the statutory pension insurance system or in the area of basic income support. The latter had been proposed by the AfD and the FDP. A major objection to this was that this would extend the basic pension to more and more pensioners, so that a kind of 'combined pension' would be created from the basic pension and contribution-based pension - with negative consequences for the legitimacy and acceptance of the statutory pension insurance. Because: "In the basic security system, the principle of needs-based justice applies; in the social security system, a principle of entitlement to benefits applies", said Nullmeier. "We must separate the two from each other and not mix the legal entitlements. Mixing them up is a great danger - for social cohesion and the legimitation basis of the statutory pension insurance system. The legimitation of the statutory pension insurance would be endangered if long-standing contributors were not "free from the proximity to poverty in old age and to receiving basic income support", said Nullmeier. This problem must be addressed and this would not be achieved by a combined solution, but only by improving the statutory pension insurance system. "If the labour market creates wages that are too low, you can either change the wage system - the minimum wage provides for this - or you have to create systems that are part of the statutory pension insurance system and follow the tradition of pension according to minimum income and pension according to minimum wage credits (Mindestentgeltpunkten)".

The hearing also made clear that an organisational link between basic income and pension would only lead to double bureaucracies and would not allow administrative relief. Against these solutions stood models of raising the incomes of all pensioners to a level above the poverty risk threshold through a new, comfortable form of basic security with correspondingly high financial burdens (Die Linke) and a solution purely within the pension insurance system through an increase in the pensions of all insured persons with more than 30 years of insurance contributions to a pension corresponding to 30 wage credits (Bündnis90/Die Grünen). This would eliminate the need for a basic pension.

The Deutsche Bundestags shares May 6th hearing at the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs as a video stream (in German only).


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

What do tolerating electricity theft, agricultural subsidies and the regulation of migration have in common? They are social policy by other means - argue CRC member Laura Seelkopf and her colleague Peter Starke.

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.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Laura Seelkopf
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science
Oettingenstraße 67
80538 München
Phone: +49 89 2180-9086
E-Mail: laura.seelkopf@gsi.lmu.de