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“Die beharrliche Mitte” (“The persistent middle”) reconstructs images of the “good life” and practices of status work in the German middle classes

Despite the widespread concerns about a “crisis of the middle classes”, we know surprisingly little about what actually is in crisis: What is the normalcy supposedly irritated by this crisis? Nils Kumkar, Stefan Holubek, Karin Gottschall, Betina Hollstein, and Uwe Schimank have taken up this question. They conducted biographic-narrative interviews with members of the middle classes and compared them with biographic accounts of members of the upper middle- and lower classes. They show the conduct of life of the middle classes to be shaped by three distinct, implicit ideals of the good life: an orientation towards community, professional pride, and economic status improvement. Even though all of the interviewees indeed do and had to engage in practices of status-work throughout their life, their experience of challenges and chances nevertheless differs significantly, depending on which of these ideals they deem “worth living for” – an insight that might prove central for understanding how the middle classes react upon the different crises society is facing today.

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Open Access EBook


Contact:
Dr. Nils C. Kumkar
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58620
E-Mail: kumkar@uni-bremen.de

Funded by the State of Bremen until 31.12.2025

This is a consortium project involving the High-Profile Area of Health Sciences of the University of Bremen, the City University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, and the Apollon University of Applied Sciences in Bremen, which entails the appointment of six doctoral students who will be supervised by professors from all three universities. SOCIUM will be represented by Professor Dr. Heinz Rothgang.

The overarching objective of this cluster is to make a local contribution to the implementation of the WHO’s objectives of the “Healthy Cities” conceptual framework in Europe. This conceptual framework embraces an international vision of good governance, the reduction of health inequalities and the integration of health, or health promotion measures, in all sectors of society. One key aspect of this is the establishment of interdepartmental cooperation within the local authorities to incorporate health promotion into urban development. An equally important aspect is the creation of an efficient system of healthcare provision in which different health occupations are integrated and work together on an equal footing.

For the duration of the funding period the research cluster will investigate and assess Bremen’s health profile, thereby taking into account Bremen’s particular characteristics and strengths relating to Health Sciences; participate and collaborate in drawing up proposals; and, finally, present a concept for the sustainable promotion and implementation of integrated healthcare structures in Bremen. The practical work is divided up into six doctoral positions, awarded in April 2022.

The coordination of the research cluster and the integration of results from all the projects will be carried out by a postdoctoral member of the project team. A concept will also be developed for integrated, small-scale monitoring that combines the areas of health, social and environmental policy, and tested using data from Bremen for decision-making support in cross-sector cooperation for sustainable, climate-friendly and healthy urban development.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

The priorities for the coming term will focus on the expansion of services for archiving and provisioning research data as well as information offers and continued discussions on research data management

The research data center Qualiservice has again been granted funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The priorities for the coming term will focus on the expansion of services for archiving and provisioning research data as well as information offers and continued discussions on research data management. In the coming funding phase, ethnographic researchers will also be supported in archiving challenging data formats such as social media data and audio-visual data.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) approved another funding period for the years 2022-2024. This success is the result of an intensive cooperation with the Scientific Information Service Social and Cultural Anthropology (FID SKA) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The research data center Qualiservice participated in the renewed application from the FID SKA, which has now been approved by the DFG. The aim is to expand Qualiservice as a German-wide specialist repository for qualitative ethnographic research data and provide adequate solutions for the often highly sensitive research data. In the future, other data formats, in particular multilingual research data, social media data and audio-visual data, will be archived in a secure environment and made available for further use in research and teaching. Due to the manifold legal, ethical and methodological requirements for archiving these kind of research data, the main focus will be on exploratory approaches to archiving possibilities. Legal and technical examinations will be coupled with information offers and continued discussions on research data management with professionals in the anthropological disciplines. With regard to the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), the FID SKA is involved in the KonsortSWD via Qualiservice and can thus feed important discussions back to the ethnographic researchers.

Qualiservice is pleased to deepen and expand its work and services for further three years and to serve anthropologists as reliable infrastructure partner.

Further information:

https://www.qualiservice.org/

https://www.socium.uni-bremen.de/home/en/

https://www.ub.hu-berlin.de/de/literatur-suchen/fachinformationsdienste/ssg-volks-und-voelkerkunde/ssg-volks-und-voelkerkunde.html (German only)

https://www.uni-bremen.de/en/

Contact:
Professor Betina Hollstein
SOCIUM – Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy University of Bremen
Tel.: +49 421 218-58512
E-mail: betina.hollstein@uni-bremen.de

SOCIUM welcomes Prof. Dr. Hongsoo Kim on her second visit

Kim Hongsoo, Professor of Health Policy and Aging at the Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University in South Korea, arrived in Bremen last week for her second 3-month research stay with the Department of Health, Long-Term Care and Pensions at SOCIUM. Altogether three visits are being funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Her first trip to Bremen was in December 2019, the second visit was scheduled for December 2020 but had to be postponed till now due to the pandemic. Her third stay is planned for December 2022.

Kim Hongsoo is a researcher in the field of long-term care systems in South Korea, Japan and Germany in a comparative perspective. She has already collaborated with the CRC 1342 Project Group A04, “Global Developments in Health Care Systems and Long-term Care as a New Social Risk” on the publication of two papers (see below for details). Further publications are to follow.

Kim Hongsoo will stay in Bremen until the end of March 2022.

Publications:
Hongsoo, Kim; Jeon, Boyoung; Frisina Doetter, Lorraine; Tamiya, Nonako; Hashimoto, Hideki, 2021: Same same but different? Comparing institutional performance in the long-term care systems of Japan and South Korea, in: Social Policy & Administration, Online first, doi:10.1111/spol.12761, 19.08.2021.

Fischer, Johanna; Hongsoo, Kim; Frisina Doetter, Lorraine; Rothgang, Heinz, 2021: Social long-term care insurance: An idea traveling between countries?, in: Nullmeier, Frank; González de Reufels, Delia; Obinger, Herbert (Hg.), International Impacts on Social Policy. Short Histories in a Global Perspective, Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, (im Erscheinen

Research team at SOCIUM presents BARMER Long-Term Care Report 2021

The BARMER Long-Term Care Report was presented today in Berlin. It highlights in particular the effects of the most recent long-term care reforms, and draws conclusions for future developments in the numbers of care dependents, as future staffing and financial requirements are derived from the number and composition of people in need of care. By 2025 and in subsequent years the number of people in need of care will actually be around 1 million more than predicted using conventional analytical methods. The Report discusses current long-term care policy in terms of the issue of personnel requirements – especially in the light of scientific assessments on staffing needs in full-time institutional care facilities. The authors, Professor Dr. Heinz Rothgang and Dr. Rolf Müller, also provide more in-depth studies on case numbers, incidences, prevalences and care processes. The main data sources are the long-term care statistics of the German Federal Statistical Office and routine claims data provided by BARMER.

Sharp growth in numbers (oder: the number of LTC dependents)

The successive inclusion of cognitive impairments in entitlement claims for long-term care insurance benefits means that the number of beneficiaries has progressively increased since the 2010s. According to long-term care figures for 2017-2019, the number of people in need of long-term care grew by 713,000. This growth can be attributed to demographic developments in 145,000 of cases, and other effects in connection with the introduction of care grades in 568,000 cases. Projections for future growth were hitherto based on the extrapolation from current prevalences. Calculations of this kind have invariably unterestimated future figures for care dependents. Current projections, based on care prevalence figures for 2019, underestimated the number of care dependents for the year 2020 by over 6 per cent. The authors of the Long-Term Care Report anticipate that in the coming years there will be no further expansion of entitled beneficiaries by legislative means, but that the effect of the introduction of previous reforms will only gradually abate by 2025. From then on, there will be a total of around 1,000,000 more people in care of need than predicted by conventional estimates. More recent estimates point especially to more care-dependents with Care Grades 1-3, and more people in receipt of care allowances.

Demand for careworkers predicted to be three per cent higher than conventional estimates

In spite of the large number of care-dependents with low care grades, there will also be higher take-up rates in residential care than forecast by conventional means. The new figures reveal that three per cent more care workers will be needed than previously estimated. Altogether, for the year 2030, 510,000 long-term care specialists, 196,000 care assistants with a 1-2 year training programme, and 386,000 untrained care assistants will be required. That is 81,000, 87,000 and 14,000 more, respectively, than indicated for 2019 according to the long-term care statistics. In 2030, therefore, there 182,000 more care workers will be required than in 2019. One should note, however, that even today the current legal requirements for care workers in full-time residential facilities, as well as the proportionate numbers in outpatient and day-care facilities, are often inadequate.

Benefit payments in 2030 comparable to 59m. Euros at today’s prices

In the model calculation, assuming that prevalences remain constant, benefit payments (at today’s prices) will increase to 53 bn. euros by 2030 and to 70.6 bn. euros by 2050. However, as the assumption of a constant prevalence at the level of 2019 has already been disproved for the year 2020, it must be assumed that the introductory effects will level off. Under these conditions, benefit payments (at today’s prices) can be expected to grow to 59 bn. euros by 2030 and 77.4 bn. euros by 2050. These new predictions thus show a financial shortfall of a further 6 bn. Euros as early as 2030.

Training Offensive is needed

The main problem remains the recruitment of care personnel. The main challenge of care policy is to meet increased requirements. To this end, more training opportunities must be made available. Moreover, the profession must be made more attractive by offering improved working conditions and higher pay. In this way it might be possible to persuade carers to remain in employment as carers) and to gain more prospective trainees.

Download (all in German only):
BARMER Pflegereport 2021
Statement von Prof. Rothgang anlässlich der Pressekonferenz
Folienvortrag von Prof. Rothgang anlässlich der Pressekonferenz


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Dr. rer. pol. Rolf Müller
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58554
E-Mail: rmint@uni-bremen.de

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. Özden Güdük will compare German and Turkish long-term care systems in her study


From mid-September until mid-March 2022, Dr. Özden Güdük will be a guest researcher at the Department of Health, Long-Term Care and Pensions. Özden Güdük is an assistant professor in the Health Science Faculty at Yuksek Ihtisas University in Ankara, Turkey. She has worked in the healthcare sector in different positions and organizations for more than 20 years. Lately, she has been working on the topic of home healthcare services in Turkey. This topic includes the patients who need long-term care and their caregivers/relatives and the organizational structure that provide the services for them.

As it is known, all countries – specially developed countries – have been facing the negative consequences of aging that cause intense demand for caregiving. When countries are compared according to their aged population, Turkey seems a little luckier than most developed countries such as Germany, Japan, and Italy. However, this picture is about to change dramatically. The elderly population and the number of dependent elderly have been increasing year by year in Turkey. Like other countries, Turkey makes an effort to provide such services both effectively and financially. One of the effective ways for this is considered "the long-term care insurance system".

Özden Güdük’s research project aims to examine the long-term care insurance used in Germany and compare it with the system in Turkey. She intends to be able contribute to the development of long-term care services in Turkey at the end of the project.

 


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
E-Mail: rothgang@uni-bremen.de

Pandemic as a complex system, control of the epidemic using indicator-sets, children and adolescents in the corona pandemic, politics and democracy under pandemic conditions

The 8th theses paper expands the tried and tested tripartite division of epidemiology, prevention and social policy by a preceding chapter, which proposes a conceptual understanding of the epidemic that differs from the common, biological-linear view. A total of four topics are dealt with:

  • The pandemic as a complex system,
  • Control through indicators and development of indicator sets,
  • Children and adolescents in the corona pandemic,·
  • Politics and democracy under pandemic conditions.

 

Theses paper 8 tries to gain more perspective, primarily by proposing a concept for understanding the pandemic, secondly by proposing a set of indicators suitable for controlling, thirdly by further deepening the knowledge of the children and adolescents in the pandemic, and fourth, by attempting political interpretation to bid.

Summary:
The proposed concept is that the epidemic should be seen as a complex system. The individual persons represent the elements of the system, the infection as a form of interaction, the infection processes as a result of virus, host and environmental properties according to the rules of this interaction, that are indeed present in complex systems, but are not visible. Success-oriented handling of an epidemic requires knowledge of its essential characteristics (attractors, e.g. age dependency), the expansion of knowledge through iterative interventions (e.g. evaluation of school closings), and as the basis of all efforts, social self-confidence and openness to different approaches.

A concrete proposal for a multidimensional indicator set for control is presented, which, based on the draft of the German Hospital Society, focuses on age stratification and a reporting rate specified according to vaccination status, comorbidity, socio-economic factors and positivity rate along with test frequency. Outcome indicators such as hospitalization (also specified according to comorbidity and vaccination protection), intensive care and the need for ventilation are also used. However, a political line in the transition to multidimensional control systems is currently not discernible.

During the pandemic, children and adolescents made a significant contribution to society and, in doing so, accepted serious disadvantages themselves. In all measures that will apply in the future, your best interests must be given priority.

Instead of linearity and subordination, autonomy, ambiguity or VUCA (variability, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) are the words that have to be implemented in politics today.


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske (verstorben)

Prof. Dr. Philip Manow
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58580
E-Mail: manow@uni-bremen.de

The group of authors supplements the statements from theses 4 and 6.1 on intensive medicine care


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Gerd Glaeske (verstorben)

Prof. Dr. Philip Manow
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58580
E-Mail: manow@uni-bremen.de

Deutsches Institut für Interdisziplinäre Sozialpolitikforschung (DIFIS) nimmt Arbeit auf


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de