Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research Network (FIS), Federal Ministry of Labour and Social AffairsInterdisciplinary Social Policy Research Network (FIS), Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
"The 'Activating Welfare State' – A Political and Social History of German Social Policy, 1979-2017" and "GEVOAB – Ideas of Justice held by Recipients of Unemployment Benefit II" give public lectures.

SCIENCE GOES PUBLIC! is an innovative format of knowledge transfer in Bremen and Bremerhaven. Topics are presented publicly in 30 minutes in selected pubs and bars to a wide-ranging audience. The SOCIUM Research Centre for Inequality and Social Policy is participating this time with two contributions: Wanda Schwarze-Wippern and Christof Wittmaack will give a talk on "Nur fordern, wenn's foerdert?" at 1st Class Suidice (Friedrich-Ebert-Str. 53-55, 28199 Bremen) on 4 November 2021 at 8:30 pm, Sebastian Jürss will talk on "Da klafft 'ne Gerechtigkeitsluecke einfach auf" at Gondi (Langemarckstr. 249, 28199 Bremen) on 11 November at 8:30 pm.

The junior research group "The 'Activating Welfare State' – A Political and Social History of German Social Policy, 1979-2017" and the research project "GEVOAB - Ideas of Justice held by Recipients of Unemployment Benefit II" are funded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs within the framework of the Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research Network (FIS).


Contact:
PD Dr. Tanja Pritzlaff-Scheele
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58579
E-Mail: tanja.pritzlaff@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Nikolas Dörr
SOCIUM - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Strasse 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58645
E-Mail: doerr@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Nikolas DörrDr. Nikolas Dörr
The funding will be used to host the two-day Hermann Weber Conference entitled “’In the Cold War, the Battalions of Better Social Benefits Decide’ – The Relationship between Communism and Social Policy from 1945 to the Present”.

Dr. Nikolas Dörr, principal investigator at SOCIUM, has received a grant from the Gerda-und-Hermann-Weber-Foundation to host the Hermann Weber Conference on Historical Communism Research in 2022. The conference, funded with 20,000 euros, will combine Cold War Studies, Communism Studies, and Historical Welfare State Research. The grant includes co-editing the conference papers in an issue of the prestigious Yearbook for Historical Communist Studies.

During the 1953 Bundestag election campaign, SPD member Ludwig Preller coined the pithy phrase: “In the Cold War, in particular, the battalions of better welfare benefits decide.” He was thus referring to a topic that was of outstanding importance to communism. The promise of the elimination of social inequalities played a central role in the seizure of power by communist parties in the 20th century: e.g. Russia in 1917, China in 1949, Cuba in 1959 or Vietnam in 1975. This represented a massive challenge in the Cold War for the West. In addition to economic and military power, demonstrating the superiority of the welfare system was therefore of great importance.

The first part of the interdisciplinary conference will be devoted to the question: What role did social policy play during the Cold War? Continuing the concept of “asymmetrically intertwined parallel history” (Christoph Kleßmann), social policy developments in West and East will be analyzed not as separate, but as continuously interrelated and mutually reciprocal. In a second part, the conference will focus on the transformation period from 1989 onwards and its consequences that continue to this day.

The Hermann Weber-conference series preserves the memory of the historian Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hermann Weber (1928–2014) who set standards in the field of Labor History, Communism and Cold War studies.

Further information about the Gerda and Hermann Weber Foundation: https://www.bundesstiftung-aufarbeitung.de/de/stiftung/gerda-und-hermann-weber-stiftung


Contact:
Dr. Nikolas Dörr
SOCIUM - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Strasse 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58645
E-Mail: doerr@uni-bremen.de

The junior research group, which is headed by Nikolas Dörr, receives over half a million euros from the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs through the Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research Network (FIS).

Over the next three years, the interdisciplinary research group will work with national and international partners to analyze the origins and development of the “activating welfare state”.

Since the 1990s, the “activating welfare state” has become the new paradigm of social policy in Germany and large parts of Europe. The public debate in Germany has focused on the reforms of the Agenda 2010 and particularly on “Hartz IV” (a reform of unemployment benefits). While the socio-economic causes of this change (especially oil crises, mass unemployment, government debt, demographic trends) have already been well researched, social and international factors have so far been largely ignored. However, focusing solely on the socioeconomic situation is not enough to comprehensively explain this transformation.

Rather than understanding the “activating welfare state” as a sum of social policy laws, the Junior Research Group will define the concept much broader as a socio-political reaction to a fundamental, long-term societal change and the transformation of international welfare paradigms since the late 1970s. The former includes, among other things, processes of individualization, pluralization (especially through migration) and the popularization of the principle of "promote and demand" (“Foerdern und Fordern”). The latter refers to the transnational reception of new welfare paradigms (Thatcherism, Workfare, “New Labour”, Flexicurity).

The junior research group consists of Wanda Schwarze-Wippern, Christof Wittmaack and Dr. Nikolas Dörr. Divided into three subprojects, the group will focus on the influence of a) international transfers of ideas and policies in the field of social policy since 1979, b) changes in attitudes towards social policy (caused, among other things, by the asylum debates since the 1980s and the different welfare state socializations in West and East Germany), and c) changes in the public and media discourse on social policy and its influence on the policy decision-making process.

Further information
Interdisciplinary Social Policy Research Network, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs




Contact:
Dr. Nikolas Dörr
SOCIUM - Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Strasse 5
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58645
E-Mail: doerr@uni-bremen.de