News from Project A05


Book four of the series, edited by Kerstin Martens, Dennis Niemann and Alexandra Kaasch, examines the influence of International Organisations on the development of several social policy fields.

International organisations (IOs) are important political actors that affect the development of many social policy fields. The volume "International Organizations in Global Social Governance" enhances and systematises our understanding of the role IOs play in global social policy.

In 14 chapters, the authors shed light on the engagement of IOs in the social policy fields of labour, migration, family, education, as well as environment and health. They record which IOs are involved in the discourse in each field and which trends they set. The authors also examine the discourse within and between the IOs. This book thus makes a significant contribution to research on social policy and international relations, both in terms of theoretical substantiation and the empirical scope.

The book is based on an international workshop of the CRC 1342 project A05 "The Global Development, Diffusion and Transformation of Education Systems", which took place at the University of Bremen in May 2019.

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Read the full book (open access):
International Organizations in Global Social Governance


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

Helen Seitzer
Helen Seitzer
Helen Seitzer, Dennis Niemann and Kerstin Martens have investigated what role the topic "PISA" plays in OECD education policy publications: not such a big one. Why PISA has become so successful nonetheless, Seitzer explains in an interview.

For their paper "Placing PISA in perspective: the OECD’s multi-centric view on education", Helen Seitzer, Dennis Niemann and Kerstin Martens have examined almost all documents published between 1961 and 2018 that are listed in the OECD online library marked by the keyword "education". What they found was that PISA by no means is that dominant a topic within these publications as we may suppose, given the popularity of PISA in mass media as well as in academic discussions. "The majority of the OECD’s output does not focus on PISA or secondary education at all. Most publications on education are discussing finance, management, or the labour market connection", the authors write. Lead author Helen Seitzer explains their results in the following interview.

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If you had to put a number on the share of OECD publications discussing PISA in one way or the other – what would that be?

Helen Seitzer: Many OECD publications on education include references to PISA in some way or another, but the overall share of reports discussing PISA alone is around 10%-17% of all publications, depending on the time frame of analysis. There might be a few documents on PISA before PISA even started (the discussion on PISA started in 1995), but it was not called PISA back then and the publications were not specifically labelled as such.

Is that high or low if you compare that to other prominent education topics discussed in OECD publications (and what were these other prominent topics)?

Seitzer: In education research concerned with the OECD, it seems as if PISA is the only topic the OECD is focussing on. At times it seems as if discussions on the 'OECD' automatically refer to 'PISA'. From that perspective the percentage of documents only discussing PISA is really low. The research that analyses other work from the OECD is still very limited and often refers back to PISA or takes it as a starting point for their research (so do we). However, the OECD is focussing on a lot more topics than PISA, mainly on labour market-related issues, but also management and planning of higher education for example, are very often discussed.

Your analysis covered the period of 1961 to 2018. Is the share of PISA as a topic within OECD publications still low if you look at the more recent years, let’s say since 2000?

If only the documents since 2000 are included, PISA makes up around 17% of all documents. That is around 90 documents in 8 years on PISA alone. The OECD is incredibly productive in education policy.

What other topics are popular in OECD publications recently?

Seitzer: Over time, the volume of topics discussed increased, similarly rising with the number of publications per year. Recently, School funding, ICT Skills, Labour market Skills and Vocational Training, and Labour Market Regulations and Adult Education are more popular discussions just to name a few. There is an increase on the "Skills" label, but also an increase on topics discussing adult education specifically. In fact, it looks like the compulsory part of education (primary and secondary schooling) does not matter that much.

Does this tell you anything, e.g. is there a shift yet to see?

Seitzer: Since the OECD’s inauguration in 1961 the world has changed a lot, so has the organization. Of course, there is a change in what is discussed over time. In the beginning, the focus was more on assessing what is there in terms of education systems and what do countries need to support their economy after WW II. Then, there was another shift of focus around 1975 on towards higher education. More discussions were held on managing higher education and innovating higher education systems than before. Now, technology (ICT) and adult education are more prevalent. However, the labour market orientation was always present.

Let’s have a look at why PISA has received that much attention in the more recent past and, more importantly, had such an impact on policy making. What is your explanation?

Seitzer: In the paper we discuss that PISA owes its success partly to the type of organization the OECD is, the timing they introduced it in, and the strategy they employ. The OECD has found a policy window when PISA first started, and the appropriate person to "sell" it, Andreas Schleicher (a policy entrepreneur). They presented a solution to a problem (that they themselves defined as a problem in the first place) at the right time, to the right people. The OECD's authority coupled with the demand for evidence-based policy-making created the perfect opportunity for PISA to thrive.

Is it correct to say that the OECD itself did invest in creating this window of opportunity for itself in order to secure its own position of an establish player in global governance?

Seitzer: They definitely had a hand in creating a policy window through publishing reports and problematizing education system effectiveness. However, this cannot be the only issue. There were other IOs with other assessments active in the field at the time (and still are), who are not as successful. The OECD has established itself as a rational actor to provide a valuable assessment of student achievement that is necessary for countries to implement in order to be taken seriously. Their framing of PISA and the information it can provide, but also the network of experts and policymakers the IO has, are definitely partly responsible for the success of PISA. This observation, that the OECD was able to establish itself as industry leader and keep that position makes it even more interesting and important to investigate IO activities and influence.

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Read the full paper (open access):
Helen Seitzer, Dennis Niemann & Kerstin Martens (2021): Placing PISA in perspective: the OECD’s multi-centric view on education. In: Globalisation, Societies and Education, DOI:10.1080/14767724.2021.1878017


Contact:
Helen Seitzer
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57065
E-Mail: seitzer@uni-bremen.de

Fabian Besche-Truthe, Helen Seitzer and Michael Windzio have published a paper in the SFB 1342 Technical Paper Series. They present a data driven way to operationalize cultural characteristics of states and cultural similarity between states.

New Technical Paper published: Cultural Spheres – Creating a dyadic dataset of cultural proximity

Fabian Besche-Truthe, Helen Seitzer and Michael Windzio have published a paper in the SFB 1342 Technical Paper Series. The author team presents a data driven way to operationalize cultural characteristics of states and cultural similarity between states. Why is this important? The authors are confident that culture is a major factor influencing the developmental paths of states and regions.

Their data set on "cultural spheres" is an innovative tool to describe cultural configurations of nations in a relational way. Countries can be tied by sharing a multitude of cultural characteristics, defined by a variety of variables like dominant religion(s), dominant language, colonial history, gender relations, civil freedom etc. As a result, the user gets a fuzzy typology of cultural spheres. This typology consists of yearly valued networks, spanning a time frame of 1789 until 2010 (see figure, the year 2015 as an example). The more of these characteristics two countries share, the more closely connected they are.

Figure 1: Cultural Spheres Network 2015

The approach of Besche-Truthe, Seitzer and Windzio enables researchers to overcome various ways of using proxies to define some sort of cultural categories. Through a relational, additive approach to cultural spheres, the authors offer a tool that is adaptable to different research questions, especially regarding policy diffusion. Their dataset is a first step towards harnessing the ‘culture matters’ proclamation in a standardized, controllable, relational way.

The full paper is availabe for download: Cultural Spheres – Creating a dyadic dataset of cultural proximity

More information on the research of project A05: The Global Development, Diffusion and Transformation of Education Systems

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Have you missed some of the previous windows? Click here for the complete CRC 1342 Advent Calendar 2020.


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

Helen Seitzer
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57065
E-Mail: seitzer@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Michael Windzio
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58629
E-Mail: mwindzio@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Prof. Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi
Steiner-Khamsi, professor for comapartive and international education at Columbia University and at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, is joining as Mercator Fellow for two months.

Gita Steiner-Khamsi, Professor of Comparative and International Education at Columbia University, New York (fall semesters) and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (spring semesters), will virtually serve as Mercator Fellow in June and July 2020. The host is Kerstin Martens, Institut für Interkulturelle und Internationale Studien, University Bremen, who is co-directing project A05 at CRC 1342.

In addition to providing advisement to doctoral students and providing input in the CRC project A05 "The global development, diffusion and transformation of education systems", she teaches in the GLOBED Erasmus Mundus programme. The initial plan to participate in a two-day international symposium on "Global Dynamics of Social Policy", organized by Michael Windzio and Kerstin Martens, in collaboration with Dennis Niemann, Fabian Besche, David Krogmann and Helen Seitzer, as part of the CRC project A05, had to be postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Steiner-Khamsi's work on transnational policy borrowing, global education policies, and political translation of evidence-based policy advice are directly related to the thematic focus of the CRC project. She has published two books related to comparative policy studies in education and is past president of the US Comparative and International Education Society.


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

How to abolish child labour internationally

Jenny Hahs and Fabian Besche offer a simulation game for children aged 10 - 12 years on 31.03.2020 from 10 - 12 o'clock and 14 - 16 o'clock in the context of the Children's University 2020 hosted by the University of Bremen. The simulation game focuses on child labour and the right for education.

The children will get an insight into today's forms of child labour, its distribution and its history in interplay and tension with the introduction of compulsory schooling and the right for education. They form teams with other participants and become representatives of their country, advocating for their country's interests in a simulation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference on the abolition of child labour. In this way they also get a first practical insight into how international politics is made.

There are still a few free places and tickets can be booked on the website of the Children's University of Bremen.


Contact:
Fabian Besche
Jenny Hahs
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57069
E-Mail: jenny.hahs@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens, Prof. Dr. Marianne Ulriksen, Sharla Plant, Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens, Prof. Dr. Marianne Ulriksen, Sharla Plant, Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
In a workshop with publisher Sharla Plant the editorial board finalised its plan for the next 18 months and developed ideas for further volumes.

At the beginning of December, the editors of the new CRC Palgrave Macmillan book series "Global Dynamics of Social Policy", Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Delia González de Reufels, Kerstin Martens and Marianne Ulriksen met with Palgrave publisher Sharla Plant in Bremen. It was jointly agreed that three volumes would be published next year:

  • Carina Schmitt (Ed.): Social Protection in the Global South
  • Lutz Leisering (Ed.): A Hundred Years of Social Security in Middle-Income Countries
  • Kerstin Martens, Dennis Niemann & Alexandra Kaasch (Ed.): International Organizations in Global Social Policy


Subsequently, the draft of an edited volume was discussed, which will tell a short history of socio-political turning points worldwide in about 40 short articles. The contributions are exclusively provided by members of CRC 1342 and are based on results of its 15 projects. The volume will be published in the first half of 2021.

After the editors had decided on a design for the Palgrave CRC series, Sharla Plant met in the afternoon with around a dozen authors who presented their ideas for further volumes in individual discussions. These ideas will be finalised in the coming months.

Prof. John W. Meyer
Prof. John W. Meyer
In a workshop, the Stanford professor discussed the projects of four PhD students. Previously, he had given a lecture on New Institutionalism, which is documented on video.

John W. Meyer is currently Hans-Koschnick-Professor at Socium and CRC 1342. On October 30th he gave a workshop on New Institutionalism: After his key note on "New Institutionalis in a Globalizing World", four PhD students from CRC 1342 presented their research projects and received valuable feedback from John W. Meyer and other guests. 

John W. Meyer will be working at the University of Bremen until mid-November. You can watch his lecture here:


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Michael Windzio
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58629
E-Mail: mwindzio@uni-bremen.de

The Collaborative Research Centre 1342 and Palgrave McMillan are publishing a new book series. The first volumes will be released in early 2020.

The CRC 1342 and Palgrave McMillan launched this series in order to publish research findings produced within CRC 1342, as well as from external colleagues.

This series welcomes studies on the waves, ruptures and transformative periods of welfare state expansion and retrenchment globally, that is, across nation states and the world as well as across history since the inception of the modern Western welfare state in the nineteenth century. It takes a comprehensive and globalized perspective on social policy, and the approach will help to locate and explain episodes of retrenchment, austerity, and tendencies toward de-welfarization in particular countries, policy areas and/or social risk-groups by reference to prior, simultaneous or anticipated episodes of expansion or contraction in other countries, areas, and risks.

One of the aims of this series is to address the different constellations that emerge between political and economic actors including international and intergovernmental organizations, political actors and bodies, and business enterprises. A better understanding of these dynamics improves the reader’s grasp of social policy making, social policy outputs, and ultimately the outcomes of social policy.

The editors of the series are the CRC 1342 members Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Delia González de Reufels and Kerstin Martens, as well as Marianne Ulriksen (University of Southern Denmark/University of Johannesburg).


Contact:
Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58561
E-Mail: frisina@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67200
E-Mail: dgr@uni-bremen.de

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

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

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