Dr. Alex Veit, Dr. Clement Chipenda
Dr. Alex Veit, Dr. Clement Chipenda
Clement Chipenda and Alex Veit analyse South Africa's food policy developments by looking at school feeding programmes and subsidies. Available as a new CRC 1342 working paper.

Their working paper offers a chronological analysis of South African food policy from the founding of South Africa as a semi-autonomous settler state to the democratic revolution.

Drawing on primary sources from archives and secondary literature, Chipenda and Veit compare two food security policies: school feeding programmes and food subsidies. In the period between the world wars, food scarcity and insecurity became an increasing problem, making food policy a fundamental part of the expanding welfare state. Free school meals were an important instrument from which all children benefited until the apartheid regime came to power in the late 1940s. The regime then excluded African children from the school meals.Contradictory at first sight, another food policy instrument remained in place under the apartheid regime from which all, including African populations, benefited and which was even expanded over the years: general food subsidies.

To explain these developments, Chipenda and Veit analyse the figuration of actors and their interdependencies:

  • the dominant, nationalist forces of the white political establishment, which denied responsibility for the welfare of the African population
  • the liberal, democratic, philanthropic and church groups that demanded food security for all population groups
  • industrialists, especially from the agricultural and extractive sectors, who stressed the importance of a healthy, numerous working population.

The dependence of South Africa's agricultural and extractive industries on cheap African labour, may have been the deciding factor, leading to central government regulation and subsidisation of the agricultural and food markets. But Chipenda and Veit point to the "peculiar figuration" of nationalist, capitalist, liberal, philanthropic forces that agreed to act together on food policy, albeit for different interests.

Read the full Working Paper: The trajectory of food security policies in South Africa, 1910-1994. The persistence of food subsidies

Dr. Alex Veit
Dr. Alex Veit (photo: Caroline Wimmer)
Dr. Alex Veit (photo: Caroline Wimmer)
The co-director of project B09 will join the Center for Conflict Studies for the next six months. His work with CRC 1342 will remain unaffected.

Dear Alex, you are going to be a substitute professor at the University of Marburg - congratulations! Who are you covering for there?

Alex Veit: Thank you! I am standing in for my colleague Thorsten Bonacker at the Center for Conflict Studies.

For how long?

From October to March next year, i.e. for the winter semester. 

What are your plans for the time at Center for Conflict Studies?

I will be teaching the introduction course in peace and conflict research as well as seminars on humanitarian military interventions and on political economy and social movements in the Global South.

Regarding research, I look at the internationalisation of governance in Africa through the involvement of international actors in core governmental tasks. Key questions are: How can the role of international organisations, bilateral donors and development agencies in the organisation of security, welfare and development be understood theoretically? What effects does the powerful position of international actors have on the relationship between states and their citizens? And what conflicts arise from the internationalisation of governance, what patterns of conflict resolution can be observed?

What does all this mean for your work here at the CRC?

The research in project B09 will of course continue, in the current phase mainly by preparing publications.

Dr. Alex Veit
SFB members Kressen Thyen and Alex Veit will chair Section 39 at the 14th Pan-European Conference on International Relations.

Call for Papers: "The Politics of Internationalised Welfare" (S39)

European International Studies Association (EISA), 14th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Msida, Malta, September 16 – 19, 2020

Proposal submission deadline: March 16, 2020
Section chairs: Alex Veit & Kressen Thyen (University of Bremen)

The call for papers is now open for "The Politics of Internationalised Welfare", Section 39 at the EISA-PEC, 16-19 September 2020.
Section 39: The Politics of Internationalised Welfare

In recent years, students of International Relations have increasingly paid attention to internationalised welfare as a relevant field of study. In contrast to the traditional welfare literature, which conceptualises social policy primarily as a domestic issue, this new branch of scholarship emphasises the influence and impact of global dynamics and international actors on social needs and welfare provision. However, different areas of international engagement, such as global health, social protection, or humanitarian aid, are often treated as separate fields of study.
In this section, we aim to bring these fields together and to analyse the fundamental questions linking them: How do international political structures—from colonialism to global governance—impact on welfare states around the globe? What influence do international and transnational actors have on the design, finance and provision of welfare systems? Which ideas and interests drive international involvement in welfare provision?

From the "age of empires" to the contemporary multilateral world, international authorities and actors have addressed social inequality, political grievances and environmental risks in different ways. This section seeks to highlight changes and continuities of internationalised welfare. It is therefore structured in a historical order that connects the past, present, and future.

With this call we are inviting paper proposals in particular relating to the following panels:

  • Imperial, Late Imperial and Post-Imperial Welfare Politics in the Global South
  • Welfare in the Post-colony: Between Popular Contention, Statebuilding and Internationalisation
  • Beyond Capital IR – Studying Social Questions in the Countryside
  • Climate Change and Poverty: Vulnerable Populations, Human Security & Social Justice

A more detailed description of the intended panels follows below.
Please submit your paper proposal through the EISA-PEC online platform. Submission guidelines are available here:

We look forward to receiving your proposals and to seeing you in Msida!
Alex & Kressen

Imperial, Late Imperial and Post-Imperial Welfare Politics in the Global South
Panel Chair: Roy Karadağ

This panel targets the imperial sources of internationalised welfare. It aims to bring together scholars who investigate and critically reflect upon the ideas, policy measures and practices of empires in identifying, problematizing and dealing with poverty, social crises and contestations from excluded groups across global peripheries. What were the features of this imperial wave of global social policy? Under which conditions did imperial politicians, bureaucrats and academics engage with teaching, healing and nurturing subject populations in colonies and protectorates? In which ways were these policies and practices themselves transformed in the late imperial years after the Second World War? What were the overall consequences for social policy making after decolonisation had finally materialised?
Organised around this set of questions, contributions ideally bridge the gap between themes of dependent development and the politics of empire, on the one hand, and of welfare statism and social policy, on the other hand. In particular, the goal is to theorise what the "imperial" is in "imperial social policy and welfare". Geographically, we invite papers that cover African, Middle Eastern and Asian contexts of imperial rule. With regard to policy fields, papers may cover anything from education, health, food, labour, pensions, housing and social assistance schemes. Contributions may render the multi-sited and multi-causal nature of imperial policy making visible, for example by investigating the various imperial justifications of policies and regulations, and the contestations they produced both within and beyond the respective imperial institutions.

Welfare in the Post-colony: Between Popular Contention, Statebuilding and Internationalisation
Panel Chairs: Kressen Thyen & Alex Veit

This panel interrogates postcolonial welfare states in the Global South as processes and products of entanglement between domestic and transnational political configurations.
On the national level, public welfare connects state organizations and social groups. It may increase state legitimacy, but also trigger new demands. It addresses social inequality, but also manifests group privileges. It symbolises nationhood and provides vision, but also exposes gaps between ambition and implementation. Geographically, welfare bureaucracies embody the state in the most remote village, but also reproduce urban-rural divides. Welfare administrative knowledge is the backbone of planning for the public good, but such data can also be used as a tool of control and repression. In sum, welfare provision creates colourful, often contradictory bonds between states and populations.
At the same time, welfare states of the Global South are transnational configurations. The design, finance, and provision of welfare is a transnational process in which international organisations, bilateral donors, transnational NGOs, religious organisations and expert communities are centrally involved. While such international involvement arguably creates a "global social policy" in its infancy, it also renders concepts of sovereignty, citizenship, democracy, accountability, entitlement, and durability highly precarious. This fundamentally puts into question previous assumptions on welfare state formation.
To address these processes of entanglement between transnational and domestic configurations, we invite papers addressing or relating to the following questions: How can we conceptualise welfare in the Global South? How does internationalisation impact on everyday patterns of legitimation and contestation? In what ways did neoliberalism and structural adjustments disrupt postcolonial welfare politics? Where do countervailing ideas emerge against dominant welfare approaches?

Beyond Capital IR – Studying Social Questions in the Countryside
Panel Chairs: Klaus Schlichte & Anna Wolkenhauer

A lot is going on in the countryside. In recent years, Sociology, Development Studies and Political Science have paid renewed attention to rural areas for a number of reasons. Deteriorating food security, increasingly frequently felt impacts of climate change, and a growing awareness of sustainability issues have put farmers back at the centre of attention.
Practices like land-grabbing, the depletion of natural resources, food insecurity or huge gaps in public service delivery seem to fuel forms of opposition that have hitherto rather been ignored by “capital IR”. This panel aims at interrogating social questions that specifically address rural areas, rural populations and internationalised politics targeting them. This can include social policies, rural development, food policies or other schemes geared by “the will to improve” (Tanya Li). While locally effective, state and non-state policies are embedded in a global system of development initiatives, governance structures, trade rules, and political representation more widely. We are convinced that IR is well-advised not to ignore the connections between rural change and international structures – historical and contemporary.
This panel invites contributions related to the following or related questions: How are structural transformations in the countryside addressed by (internationalised) welfare? How have state retrenchment and a neoliberal redefinition of social policy affected rural areas? How are social and political questions related in the countryside; do welfare and political representation interact? What potential do food security interventions hold for social inclusion and transformation?

Climate Change and Poverty: Vulnerable Populations, Human Security & Social Justice

Panel Chair: Simon Chin-Yee

Climate change plays an increasingly important role in discussions of poverty, human security and socio-economic risks. Vulnerable populations are increasingly susceptible to weather shocks, desertification, sea level rise and conflicts which can lead to poverty traps. Sustained eradication of poverty will depend on many socio-economic conditions, including access to health care, education and economic growth. Climate change impacts on poverty exponentially as vulnerable populations are more exposed to its effects and have less capacity to adapt or react to natural disasters. Additionally, climate change is increasingly seen as a threat multiplier further exacerbating impacts on human security. These are human rights and climate justice issues.
This panel seeks to examine how changing environmental conditions are impacting vulnerable populations with an eye to the future, answering questions such as: How can vulnerable communities avoid falling into the poverty trap? How do populations cope when experiencing negative shocks in multiple channels simultaneously? What responsibility does the global climate regime have to address issues of human rights and vulnerable populations? To what extent are climate related risks addressed by internationalised social policy-making?


Section Chairs are Alex Veit ( and Kressen Thyen (, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS), CRC Global Dynamics of Social Policy, University of Bremen, Germany.

For further information related to the submission process please contact

Dr. Kressen Thyen
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58515

Dr. Alex Veit
Dr. Alex Veit
Dr. Alex Veit
Our CRC member edited a special section on "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender Based Violence".

Alex Veit guest-edited the special section entitled "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender Based Violence" in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (Vol. 13,4). The section is part of the research project "International Intervention against sexualised violence in conflict regions. Intended and unintended consequences", funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Project member Lisa Tschörner co-authored one of the articles.


Feminism in the Humanitarian Machine. Introduction to the Special Section on "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender-based Violence"

by Alex Veit

Abstract: The prevention and mitigation of sexual and gender-based violence in (post-) conflict societies has become an important humanitarian activity. This introductory article examines the analytical discourses on these interventions, the institutionalization of SGBV expertise in international politics, and the emancipatory potential of anti-SGBV practices. It argues that the confluence of feminist professional activism and militarized humanitarian interventionism produced specific international activities against SGBV. As part of the institutionalization of gender themes in international politics, feminist emancipatory claims have been taken up by humanitarian organizations. The normal operating state of the humanitarian machine, however, undercuts its potential contribution to social transformation towards larger gender equality in (post-) conflict societies.

"A Real Woman Waits" – Heteronormative Respectability, Neo-Liberal Betterment and Echoes of Coloniality in SGBV Programming in Eastern DR Congo

by Charlotte Mertens and Henri Myrttinen

Drawing on archival and field research, this article critically examines the production and distribution of gender roles and expectations in SGBV programming, in particular in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We find the underlying currents in some of these programmes reinscribe heteronormativity and focus on individual betterment which resonates with regulating gender and sexuality during colonialism. In some cases, strongly western-inspired norms of individual agency have been introduced, disregarding structural constraints of people’s lives. To conclude, we explore alternative approaches to SGBV prevention, ones in which international approaches are re-defined and vernacularized for local use – but which also at times inform global understandings.

"Without Education You Can Never Become President": Teenage Pregnancy and Pseudo-empowerment in Post-Ebola Sierra Leone

by Anne Menzel

This article analyses the emergence of ‘teenage pregnancy’ as a new policy focus in post-Ebola Sierra Leone and explores how Sierra Leoneans interpret the problem of ‘teenage pregnancy’. I argue that the new policy focus is not indicative of changing or new problems. Rather, ‘teenage pregnancy’ has created opportunities for donors and the Government of Sierra Leone to continue cooperation in gender politics. At the same time, Sierra Leoneans are clearly concerned about ‘teenage pregnancy’, and many agree with sensitization campaigns that responsibilize young women and girls while downplaying structural factors that render them vulnerable to arrangements involving transactional sex.

Creative appropriation: academic knowledge and interventions against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by Alex Veit and Lisa Tschörner

Recent academic research has questioned assumptions about sexual violence in (post-) conflict contexts. Gender norms rather than military decision-making have been found to constitute a major underlying reason for wartime sexual violence. In this contribution, we investigate whether international organisations seeking to prevent sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accordingly changed their analytical perspectives and modified policies and programming. We find that many, but not all, such organisations creatively appropriate new academic work in their policy and project documents. However, incentives for continuity in the humanitarian field have slackened the pace of any substantive practical changes.

Dr. Alex Veit
Dr Alex Veit
Dr Alex Veit
In project B09 Alex Veit works on case studies on social policy in South Africa and Tanzania. On a recent research trip to both countries he took a closer look at their education policies.

Dear Alex, for project B09 you were in Africa. Where exactly?

In March I was first in Cape Town, then one week in Johannesburg and then in Dar es Salaam.

What were your plans for this trip?

At first it was about finding out about the academic landscape. We want to cooperate with local scientists dealing with topics similar to ours. I have gained an insight into who works for what purpose, what they do exactly and where common interests could lie.

Did you specifically address social policy researchers and historians?

The university landscape in South Africa is relatively large, and some universities can play along without problems at our level. Education studies are particularly interesting for us, as are many sociologists who work on education. Or political scientists who specialise in health. As a trained historian, I have also spoken to many historians.

And in Tanzania?

In Tanzania, the University of Dar es Salaam is the country's flagship. It is actually the only university that has a certain amount of resources that make research possible. The other universities and the private universities are basically pure teaching institutions. But in Dar es Salaam there is the legendary Historical Department, which produced groundbreaking research in the 1960s and 1970s. It was there that Marxist historical science was practiced by people known in the scene. This was a place of longing for many historians at the time. There are still many good people there. I talked to some of them and started a cooperation.

What are your first insights into the educational systems of these countries?

Education is a huge promise in both countries: Education can change everything that doesn't work in society. But there are serious differences between the two countries. In South Africa all discourses take place against the backdrop of apartheid and racist inequality. The education system is also considered under this paradigm. The society is very fragmented, accordingly a lot of blame is placed. 25 years after the end of apartheid, everyone is totally dissatisfied. In international comparisons, South Africa's public schools partly lag behind Tanzania, which spends much less money on education and is at a much more difficult stage of development than South Africa, which invests 20 percent of its state budget in public schools. It is especially in the poorest regions that schools are miserable.

In what way?

On the one hand, the results in benchmarking studies are poor, and on the other hand the infrastructure is also poor. Every year, several pupils are killed as they plunge into latrines. The question then arises, who is to blame? Many people say that the ruling party can't get it right. Others point to the unions that protect teachers from having to work harder. Still others blame the whites who send their children to private schools, which is why the public school system falls behind and the good teachers go to private schools.

Where the salaries are higher ...

Yes, there are all sorts of reasons in such a fractured society. Tanzania's society is much more homogeneous in comparison. There are no such clear conflicts. Everyone there talks about development, everyone wants things to go ahead, and they are also reasonably satisfied. A lot is being built, the infrastructure is making progress. For example, the telephone network in Dar es Salaam is often better than in Bremen.

And the schools?

The schools are now free of charge. But almost everyone I have spoken to sends their children to private schools. Many spend a large part of their salary on it because they consider the quality of the public schools to be miserable in comparison.

Was there anything on your trip that surprised you?

I was very surprised to see how closely economists are involved in policy development, especially in education. In Tanzania, mostly through International Organisations. In South Africa it's the local economists. Sociologists and historians are very dissatisfied with this. Because social policy is very much being quantified.

Does this mean that the education system is developing in a certain direction?

Sociologists say that everything is moving in towards privatisation and that there is a political agenda behind it. In Stellenbosch, the leading former Afrikaans-speaking university and one of the country's five elite universities, apartheid has been academically conceived and legitimized. There is a very strong Department of Economics there, and the ANC government is drawing on this very university. I have not expected that at all. This has something to do with the fact that, at the transition from apartheid to democracy, many academics returned from exile, usually radical people, including academics, who were in Britain. They wanted to build something together. At the same time, the World Bank was also massively involved in that phase. There was an international programme to help South Africa get back on its feet. They wanted to build South Africa as a lighthouse of democracy in Africa. So there was an immense rush from all sides. The problem with the radical left and the ANC's exiles was that they were very good at organising resistance, but they were not prepared to govern. But those who were really well prepared were the World Bank people. They joined forces with the Stellenbosch economists. They spoke the same language. There were all kinds of reform promises, including outcome-based education. In principle, this means that each child is supported according to his or her needs and that there is no rigid curriculum. Instead, the teachers develop the material together with the pupils. At the same time, however, at the end of the day it should be possible to measure clearly and comparably which skills the pupils have acquired. This has led to a complete disaster. Everyone was totally confused in a phase in which everything was in a state of upheaval anyway. This huge reform has unsettled all schools, all teachers. There were no more textbooks, no curriculum and at the same time there was a very rigid, authoritarian understanding of teaching at all schools. For decades frontal teaching prevailed, and now suddenly it was going to be completely different. They tried that for a few years, then everything was put back on hold.

How do you proceed now?

I'm going to Tanzania in June for a few weeks. I will do interviews with people involved in education and food policy. I will meet with the International Organisations. They are relatively prominent in Tanzania, much more prominent than in South Africa. I also try to talk to the government and the administration. And then I visit a smaller town and talk to teachers and the local administration. I will not return to South Africa until next year.

Then the CRC is already in its third year ...

Yes, but there is so much literature on South Africa that I have to collect much less data on my own. In Tanzania the situation is quite different. I have to produce more primary material there. I went to South Africa now to understand which stakeholders there write which political agenda. Because there are such close links between the universities and the government, everyone writes with an agenda. You have to be able to assess that. When I go there next year, I will also talk to teachers and school principals to understand how policy actually affects them. After all, reality has several layers.

Dr. Alex Veit
Prof Dr Ndangwa Noyoo
Prof Dr Ndangwa Noyoo
Ndangwa Noyoo, head of the "Social Development Department" at the University of Cape Town, was a guest at the CRC 1342 in Bremen last week. In a lecture he called for a "Global Social Policy" to reduce poverty migration.

Professor Ndangwa Noyoo (University of Cape Town) gave a lecture on "Global Social Policy in an Era of Increasing Unilateralism, Narrow Nationalism and Xenophobia" at CRC 1342 on Tuesday, February 12th. In the lecture, Noyoo pleaded for a renewal of international solidarity. He recalled programmatic development cooperation especially in the decades after the Second World War, which, unlike today's "band aid" humanitarianism, was committed to a transformative agenda.

According to Noyoo, who works in Cape Town on social development, the current "narrow nationalism" in industrialised countries has been triggered among other things by strong migration movements. "Global Social Policy" as a transformative international solidarity is therefore an important instrument to reduce poverty migration and thus to ease political discourses in the global North.

Dr. Alex Veit