News from Project A05

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

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

Dr. Sanen Marshall
Dr. Sanen Marshall
Dr. Sanen Marshall from the University of Malaysia Sabah reported at CRC 1342 that liberal universities of Malaysia exist in an environment characterised by the growing influence of Islamic organisations on science and education.

Sanen Marshall said at the beginning of his lecture that Malaysia's university landscape can be divided into universities that profess to islamise knowledge, and those that promote liberal education. According to Marshall, universities promoting liberal education have committed themselves to free, critical science, while the universities promoting the islamisation of knowledge always ask whether research and teaching contents are consistent with the principles of the Islamic faith.

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation and individual Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia have supported the setting up of Islamic universities in Malaysia in the 1980s and even more recently, Marshall reported. For a long time both forms of higher education coexisted, but since the mid-2000s there has been a decline of sorts for the liberal education systems in one or two universities, Marshall said: "The attack on liberal ideas began in the 2000s". At the same time, Islamic ideas and principles have had a growing influence on Malaysia's education system: One school history textbook, for example, teaches without evidence about jihad in Malaysia’s anti-colonial history while valourising Turkey as a historical model for the Islamic world. The translation into Malay of Charles Darwin's book is banned in Malaysia. "Many young students", Marshall said, "are hardly prepared to deal with content critically and freely any more".

At one university which has a liberal education programme, the growth of professorships and lecturing positions has been stagnating in favour of technical and applied courses of study, Marshall reported. This is an indicator that applicable knowledge and skills enjoy a high reputation in Malaysia's education system as well as in its society.

With his lecture, Sanen Marshalls provided an interesting input for the Collaborative Research Centre 1342: Not only global and western international organisations may have a significant influence on the educational and social policies of nation states, but also religious organisations such as the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.


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
Dr. Dennis Niemann
As a young boy Dennis Niemann wanted to become a paleontologist. Today, as a political scientist, he prefers to look for social mechanisms and patterns rather than petrified bones.

What was your first career aspiration as a child or teenager?

Probably the mandatory astronaut, firefighter, or policeman. A profession in which you "really do something". I fully embraced the role models of that time. When I grew up in the 1980s, there was also a great dinosaur phase. So my plan was to dig up dinosaurs later.

And why aren't you doing it today?

Because it's probably quite boring to dig in the ground and find such a petrified bone every couple of years. My first realistic career aspiration at the beginning of my studies was becoming a journalist. Like so many in social sciences. I thought that woould suit me because I've always liked to write. But I had neither connections nor special talent in the field of journalism.

Why did you start studying social sciences?

This was actually recommended to me during my school years at a student advisory service. I then studied politics and law. And right at the beginning of my studies it turned out that this was a good choice, also as a professional field.

In which sense?

This was primarily due to my work as a student assistant. In the third semester, the professor asked me if I wanted to work as an assistant. I was somewhat flattered. However, I really enjoyed my work.

You had to do more than just make photocopies.

Unlike some of my fellow students, I wasn't used as a copy slave. I was lucky enough to work for Michael Zürn, who does research in international relations. Zürn had a project on international environmental policy at the time.

When was that?

That was in 2003/2004, when there was a huge database on environmental regimes and I had the task of evaluating it. That was completely new and very interesting for me as a student, because it resulted in things that nobody knew.

Do you have an example?

That it makes more sense, for example, to use quasi-legal arbitration bodies to assess compliance with the rules rather than immediately threatening to impose any sanctions. And that's when I got infected with this virus that is driving us to create knowledge.

Your thesis was based on your work as an assistant.

Exactly, the topic was "Compliance in international environmental regimes". Since I had the position as a student assistant, I have worked continuously to get a foot in the door. And that went relatively smoothly thanks to the Collaborative Research Centre "Staatlichkeit im Wandel". So I started in the middle of the second project phase. At that time I was also an assistant to the co-project manager Ansgar Weymann. One of his colleagues found out that I wanted to do a PhD and said: "Come by, we talk about it." I think I said something like: "I would like to do research on international organisations, I don't care about the policy field". And that is how I turned to education. And that's really exciting.

Imagine you have everything you need: sufficient financial resources, good colleagues, the necessary knowledge, the best technical equipment and also enough time - which research question would you try to solve?

Phew! This is a question you don't deal with in normal life at all! Because that is completely unrealistic! However, with a colleague I had once applied for funding for a project about school autonomy in a European comparison. That's a really exciting topic.

Can you explain briefly what you mean by that?

School autonomy means that schools are less strongly regulated by the state, but can develop their own profile and teach and train people within the broadest possible framework. I would like to investigate this in a European comparison. If we had unlimited resources available for this, I would trace these development paths for each European country and subsequently have a data collection with all possible explanatory factors as to why states have opted for or against more school autonomy. To recognize what were the decisive explanatory factors for the development. That is something I am particularly interested in in general: Why did it come to something? To discover what is not obvious, but rather contradicts expectations.

Basically, the CRC 1342 is also designed in this way: You look at the past development of social policy and search for patterns.

That's is why I like the CRC research programme so much. Sometimes you have to look backwards and retrace what has happened. This enables you to identify mechanisms and patterns.

You're a postdoc now. What's your plan for the next ten, twenty years?

In the first funding phase, my goal is to seriously tackle the habilitation. And then of course I would also like to apply for professorships.

Do you already have a topic in mind for your habilitation?

Roughly, yes. It is based on our CRC education project. We look at the ideas that international organisations have on the subject of education. We also examine organisations that previously had nothing to do with education, e.g. the World Bank or the OECD, which previously had a clear economic focus. I am interested to know why the OECD, for example, is now regarding education as extremely important. What was the incentive to get so involved in this field? When you hear OECD, you immediately think of the PISA survey. And there are other international organisations that also are very much in favour of social policy. What makes organizations expand suddenly? And how do organisations that have been working on that field before, react and adapt to the new competition? Are they being ousted, are they looking for other niches? This project will be driven forward in the next six months.


Contact:
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