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Information on press releases and related news of the department "Dynamics of Inequality in Welfare Societies".

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Prof. Dr. Karin GottschallProf. Dr. Karin Gottschall
The funding and support network "Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research (FIS)" run by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs grants 1.1 million euro in initial funding for the SOCIUM Research Center.

A huge success for the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy at the University of Bremen: The funding and support network "Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research" approved the application submitted by the Bremen Professor of Sociology, Karin Gottschall, for the provision of an endowed chair titled "Life Course Oriented Social Policy". The chair, embedded in the Faculty of Social Sciences and the SOCIUM research center, will be financed by the FIS with 1.1 million euro for the following five years. Research and teaching under the new chair will focus on the relationship of employment biographies, social policy, and social inequality.

Risks in the Life Course
For decades, the German labor market has been characterized by high and persistent unemployment of specific groups and the increase of insecure employment relations. The idea of continuous employment up until retirement seems to be more and more unrealistic. This topic will rank high on the agenda of our society in the years to come. Against this background, the endowed chair will focus on new and old risks of changed employment relations and ways of life. Moreover, consequences of recent social political reforms in the labor market and old-age provision in Germany will be investigated in an international comparison. Research will take into account specific groups such as women, people with migration backgrounds, low-wage earners, and the self-employed. Special emphasis will be given to the question of how individuals and groups perceive and address social risks in the life course and in everyday life.

At the same time, the chair will transfer sound sociological knowledge to the public on controversial issues like basic income and poverty risks. It also aims to further sustainable social- and labor-market policies which are sensitive to changing life course demands. The chair's approach promotes the newly established integration of social policy research and sociological inequality research at the SOCIUM and allows for sharpening the profile of interdisciplinary welfare state research at the University of Bremen.

The Bremen SOCIUM
The SOCIUM is nationwide the only social science research institute which empirically and theoretically investigates question of inequality and social policy as well as social and political interdependencies. The focus of this work lies in interdisciplinary research on social, economic, political, cultural, organizational, legal, historical, and social-medical conditions.

The funding and support network "Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research"
The funding and support network "Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research", which was set up in 2016 by the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs, funds junior research groups, research projects and endowed chairs with the aim of promoting innovative approaches in social policy research.

Further Information:
Funding and support network "Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research"


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58595
E-Mail: karin.gottschall@uni-bremen.de

Ruud Koopmans at the Jour Fixe of the SOCIUM.

On Monday, 14th November 2016, Ruud Koopmans from the Berlin Social Science Center, was a guest at the Jour Fixe lecture series of the SOCIUM. Koopmans reported on his recent study which included interviewing 7000 people in six European countries (France, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland). His result, a hotly debated topic: The problems of employment of Muslims and its lacking integration into the labor market have less to do with social discrimination but more with social and cultural factors.

First of all, Koopmans pointed out the lack of language skills, traditional religiously-defined values and fewer interethnic contacts, which complicate the participation in the labor market for Muslim immigrants in Europe. The most obvious is the labor market participation of Muslim women, where the traditional understanding of gender roles is opposed.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Celine Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de

Keith Banting lecture in the Jour Fixe of the SOCIUM.

Until the 1990s Canada was a typical re-distributive welfare state unlike to its southerly neighbor. But ever since the 2000s, together with the USA and Switzerland, the country belongs to the countries least redistributing in the OEDC-world. Keith Banting from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario/Canada has not only proved a surprising development but he also offered an explanation: In the last 25 years, the redistribution of party political weights has, until recently, had the consequences that social inequality has not become an important topic of public interest.

Banting pointed out that in recent years liberals as well as conservatives and the new democratic social policy in a larger sense were defined as "protection of the middle class", which permitted all three to combine very different contents with such policies. Inequality was just one topic among many, so that the Canadian debate is much more diffuse than would be in the case of continental Europe.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Celine Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de

A new Project has been approved by the German Research Foundation

Loss of income, educational panic or burn-out problems in the middle classes keep making headlines. The question of whether the middle classes are disturbed in their 'comfort zone' and whether the seemingly self-evident security is no longer valid for their own children is the subject of various and controversial public debates. In fact, little is known about the lifestyle of the middle classes in Germany. Sociologists from various departments of the SOCIUM will now investigate in a research project recently approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) which events and developments lead to insecurity and how middle class people deal with these irritations.

In the three-year study (funding volume approx. 400,000 euros) with the title "Investing in Status as a Mode of Living: Practices, Conditions, Disturbances" members of different subgroups of the middle class, also in comparison to members of lower classes, are intensively interviewed on several areas of life such as work, partnership, investments to find out to what extent irritations in these areas affect the entire lifestyle.

The study is part of a larger research programme prepared by Uwe Schimank, Betina Hollstein and Karin Gottschall in collaboration with other sociologists at the University of Bremen and beyond. In addition to the qualitative study mentioned above, in which the postdoctoral researchers and doctoral students Nils C. Kumkar, Rixta Wundrak and Stefan Holubek will also be involved, further projects will investigate the lifestyle of the middle classes in a representative, longitudinal and international comparative manner.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58595
E-Mail: karin.gottschall@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Betina Hollstein
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58512
E-Mail: betina.hollstein@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Uwe Schimank
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58564
E-Mail: uwe.schimank@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Karin GottschallProf. Dr. Karin Gottschall
Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles introduces new measures to strengthen research activities on social policies and the Welfare state in Germany.

Around 30 percent of the GDP in Germany are produced or consumed by the welfare state. More than 40 percent of the federal budget is allocated to social policies. Nevertheless, due to a reduction in the number of professorships on social policy social scientific research on the welfare state is in decline. The “Network Promoting Interdisciplinary Research on Social Policy”, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, attempts to reverse this trend. Endowment chairs, promotion of young scholars, financial support for research activities – there is a broad spectrum of possible initiatives which will be supported by various sponsors already starting in 2017/18. The new-established interdisciplinary Advisory Board is primarily tasked with quality management.

In recent years various observers in Germany deplored the declining number and importance of social scientific research on the welfare state while at the same time the political, social and financial importance of social policies increased. Universities changed the designation of new chairs in social sciences. Research institutes realigned their focus. This leads to a major gap in research at a time when social and global developments result in pressing new questions regarding welfare and social justice. In February 2016 the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities organized a conference with sociologists, political scientists, economists, law scholars, historians as well as Christian social ethicists on the question of “Is there a Crisis of Social Policy Research?” in which several members of the SOCIUM participated. One result was the foundation of the “Network Promoting Interdisciplinary Research on Social Policy” based on a funding guideline of the Federal Ministry. The newly established Advisory Board convened on June 2nd, 2016 for its inaugural meeting and discussed funding for different types of research and networking. The program is to be announced by July 2016. Approved research proposals will commence in 2017/18.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58595
E-Mail: karin.gottschall@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Céline TeneyProf. Dr. Céline Teney
Sociologist receives most prestigious German award for young scholars.

The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, since 1977 jointly awarded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the German Federal Ministry of Ecucation and Research (BMBF), aims at young scholars pursuing excellent research and providing an independent academic record. Céline Teney has now become part of this illustrious circle. She is one of only ten scholars who have been awarded this honor on May 18th, 2016 in Berlin. Ms Teney works as a sociologist at the SOCIUM and is head of the cooperative junior research group focusing on “Winners of Globalization? A Study on the Emergence of a Transnational Elite in Europe”, funded by the German Excellence Initiative.

The international jury selected the ten laureates among 134 proposals. In the award statement the jury praises the wide scope of Ms Teney’s research as well as her application of various different analytical methods. Her research not only focuses on the highly topical questions of the acculturation of ethnic minorities in modern societies but also on issues of transnationalization of elites and other social groups. Moreover, she works on the explanation of recent electoral successes of right-wing extremist parties, among them the German NPD. The prize is endowed with 20,000 euros.

Céline Teney studied sociology and ethnology at the university in Freiburg i.Br., obtained her PhD in social and political sciences in Brussels  and then held positions as a research fellow in Brussels, at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University before she joined the faculty at the University of Bremen in 2014.

Further information:
Press release of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: Ten Researchers to Receive Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes
forschung - Das Magazin der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft 1/2016: Hohes Potenzial und herausragende Leistungen, 2016/1, pp. 26-27 (in German)


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Celine Teney
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58644
E-Mail: celine.teney@uni-bremen.de

Simone Scherger, Steffen Hagemann: Concepts of Retirement and the Evaluation of Post-Retirement Work. Positions of Political Actors in Germany and the UK

Concepts of retirement and related moral arguments play an important role in debates around pension reform. What retirement is - or should be - varies according to the surrounding welfare culture and an actor’s general interests and beliefs.

In this paper, we study the meaning that specific collective actors in Germany and the UK attribute to retirement, and their evaluation of post-retirement work, which is an exception to 'normal' retirement. For this purpose, we examine interviews with experts from unions, employer federations and relevant non-profit organisations which have been conducted in the context of a wider comparative project. Additionally, we draw on policy documents by the same actors. Our analysis of the interviews and the documents reveals similar retirement concepts among the same kinds of actors across countries: trade unions and at least some non-profit organisations advocate retirement as a social right and as a distinct (ideally work-free) phase of life. In contrast, employers have a less substantial concept of retirement. At the same time, when morally justifying what retirement should be in their view, the actors refer to ideas that establish a connection to the specific welfare culture surrounding them.

Download: ZeS Working Paper 04/2014

Starting with winter term 2013-14 for Faculty 8 Social Sciences

In the faculty council meeting of June 12, 2013 of faculty 8 Social Sciences Prof. Dr. Bernd Zolitschka was elected Dean. Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall was proposed and appointed by the council to become Vice Dean. Both will assume office in the upcoming winter term and their appointment will be valid for two years. 

Legal and institutional incentives for undocumented work in private households in GermanyLegal and institutional incentives for undocumented work in private households in Germany
By Karin Gottschall and Manuela Schwarzkopf

Private households' demand for support in housekeeping, childcare and care of elderly is increasing. In Germany, it is met mainly by undocumented work.

The report shows that this constellation is eased by legal and institutional regulations: Social as well as tax legislation promote a marginal employment of married women. Restrictive rules for additional earnings in the social welfare law and high charges on low wage incomes are often a hindrance to the improvement of welfare recipients' and low-paid workers' precarious economic situation by regular work. Foreigners from a non-EU member state eventually have - due to restrictive immigration legislation - few possibilities to take up legal work in Germany. The interest in regular work might be raised (i.a.) by an increase of the upper limits on additional earning and the promotion of employment which ensures livelihoods in domestic services.

Publication:
Gottschall, Karin; Schwarzkopf, Manuela, 2011: Legal and institutional incentives for undocumented work in private households in Germany. Stocktaking and problem-solving approaches, 238/2011, Düsseldorf: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung

Further information and order of the working paper:
Hans-Böckler-Stiftung


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58595
E-Mail: karin.gottschall@uni-bremen.de

from left to right: Steffen Hagemann, Simone Scherger, Anna Hokema, Thomas Lux from left to right: Steffen Hagemann, Simone Scherger, Anna Hokema, Thomas Lux
The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) will fund a project on "Paid work beyond retirement age in Germany and Britain", as part of the Emmy Noether programme for excellent young researchers.

Starting from October 2010, an independent junior research group lead by Simone Scherger will study the structures and conditions of paid employment among retirees, its biographical significance, and the collective discourses around old age, paid employment, old age provision and the welfare state.

Until now, paid employment in retirement has been an atypical combination of work, payments from a pension (or several pensions) and old age. This combination is counter to the assumed finality of retirement. The project aims at investigating the forms and conditions of paid employment in retirement in a perspective which compares Germany with Britain. The group will examine the incidence and structures of paid work in retirement, and the biographical constellations in the areas of work and family which lead to retirees engaging in paid work. Furthermore, the biographical significance of this form of work and the framing collective discourses around work, age and old age security will be studied. Comparing Germany and Britain sheds a light on the importance of the underlying welfare state regulations and traditions, and the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods will facilitate a dialogue between structure oriented and action oriented perspectives.

Further information: German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft): Emmy Noether Programme


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Karin Gottschall
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58595
E-Mail: karin.gottschall@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Simone Scherger
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58569
E-Mail: simone.scherger@uni-bremen.de