Prof. Merike Blofield, University of Hamburg
Prof. Merike Blofield, University of Hamburg
Prof. Merike Blofield, University of Hamburg

To kick off the Jour Fixe in the winter term 2023/24, Dr. Merike Blofield, Professor of Latin American Society and Politics at the University of Hamburg, visited the Collaborative Research Center 1342 on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. During her lecture, she presented her current book "The Politics of Social Protection During Times of Crisis" published by Cambridge University Press in July 2023. The event was not only well attended on site, but was also broadcast as a video conference so that other interested colleagues could participate digitally.

In 2020, as Latin American countries shuttered their economies, it became clear that effective lockdowns would require states to provide income support. In a region that has historically struggled to build systems of social protection, the effort to expand benefits was notable. Policies varied in scope and generosity, but in what seemed to signify a new era of state-building, Latin American democracies demonstrated a nearly uniform commitment to providing assistance to the poor. Why did some countries implement broader and more adequate programs than others and why did countries vary in their ability to sustain support over time? This Element argues that three factors explain cross-national and cross-temporal differences in policy effort: policy legacies, unified/divided government, and fiscal space. The Element shows that in settings of crisis, the democratic politics of social policy expansion shifts, with traditional factors like ideology and electoral competition playing a less central role.

„The Politics of Social Protection During Times of Crisis“

Merike Blofield is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hamburg, where her focus is on global health and social policy. Prior to moving to the University of Hamburg, she was Director of the Institute for Latin American Studies at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and a Professor of Political Science and Director of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Miami. With a focus on Latin America, her research has analyzed policy areas that intersect social, health, family, gender and labor policy.


The Politics of Social Protection during Times of Crisis (2023), with Jenny Pribble and Cecilia Giambruno, July 2023.

Setbacks in the quest for universal health coverage in Mexico: polarised politics, policy upheaval, and pandemic disruption, led by Felicia Knaul, came out on August 7th, 2023, and is open access.

Oxford Handbook of Governance and Public Management of Social Policy (2023), co-editor of the Latin America section with Camila Arza and Fernando Filgueira.. 

Lancet Global Health Viewpoint on linkages between cash transfers and intimate partner violence programming in Latin America, published during the International Day to End Violence Against Women, November 25, 2021.

Anh Tran
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Stra├če 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57089