News

Here you can find the latest updates on the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy": summaries of current research results, references to our latest publications, outcomes of events and more news from the projects and their staff members.

Simon Gerards Iglesias, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Simon Gerards Iglesias, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Delia Gonzalez des Reufels and Simon Gerards presented their findings to the Association of European Latin American Historians in Paris.

The AHILA Congress took place in Paris from 23-27 August 2021, at which Delia González de Reufels and Simon Gerards Iglesias from project B02 presented and discussed their research findings in a separate panel on the history of social policy in Latin America. Under the title "Los vínculos de las políticas sociales estatales en Amércia Latina y sus representaciones mediáticas, siglos XIX y XX", the two-day panel brought together established historians who spoke about their projects on the history of public social policy and its representation in the media.

The focus was on the policy fields of work, education, health and housing, and their historical development as well as special social policy instruments were examined. The contributions examined both the nation-state conditions in the countries Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay and the processes of transnational exchange, the transfer of knowledge and ideas. The importance of gender for the historical analysis of social policy was highlighted, as was the role of photography and the medium of film and television. Claudia Agostoni from the UNAM in Mexico, Washington Dener Santos Cunha from the Universidade do Estado do Rio do Janeiro in Brazil and Maria Rosa Gudiños from the Universidad Nacional Pedagógica in Mexico as well as eight young Latin American historians gave presentations that also discussed the research problems and the particular challenges of empirical research.

Delia González de Reufels focused on the role of the Chilean armed forces in the development of social policy since the late 19th century and the links between "warfare and welfare" in this pioneering country of Latin American social policy. Simon Gerards Iglesias presented his dissertation project on Argentina's relations with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and underlined the importance of transnational knowledge production for the formation of social policy. Martín Cortina Escudero, who is researching in the SFB sub-project B03, presented his findings on the importance of the colonial past for the formation of social policy, as did

Teresa Huhle, who left SFB 1342 this spring, who spoke about the connection between education and health using the example of Uruguayan "open-air schools".

The AHILA (Asocicación de Historiadores Latinomaericanistas) is the association of European historians of Latin America that emerged from the meetings of European Americanists at the end of the 1970s, in the middle of the Cold War. From the beginning, it also included Latin Americans living in Europe and European historians who taught and researched Latin American history beyond the so-called Iron Curtain. The AHILA Congress takes place every three years.


Contact:
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

Dr. Heiner Fechner
Dr. Heiner Fechner
CRC member Heiner Fechner is one of 27 "national rapporteurs" who will provide analyses on the historical roots of modern slavery for the International Academy of Comparative Law. Fechner will write the national report for Germany.

Heiner Fechner, who is a postdoctoral researcher in the CRC project A03 "Worlds of Labour", has been appointed "National Rapporteur" on the topic of modern slavery. Fechner is to prepare the national report for Germany for the International Academy for Comparative Law (IACL).

According to estimates by the ILO and the Walk Free Foundation (2017), around 40 million people worldwide are currently victims of modern slavery, which also includes forced labour including forced prostitution and forced marriages - more than during the peak of the colonial slave economy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The appointment by the IACL's "General Rapporteur" on modern slavery, Prof. Dr. Adelle Blackett (Uni McGill, Montreal), was prompted by Fechner's research on colonial labour law and exclusion ("legal segmentation") within the CRC 1342.

Exclusionary and coercive elements of German colonial labour law, including its reception and further development by the Nazi regime, will also be a focus of the study to be presented at the IACL Congress in Paraguay in autumn 2022. A comparison of the development of German law with 26 other states is on the agenda for that event.

The analysis of the historical roots of modern slavery is to be made fruitful for a critical discussion of the current legal situation and reform proposals. The publication of the analyses and proposals is expected in 2023.


Contact:
Dr. Heiner Fechner
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49-421-218-57070
E-Mail: hfechner@uni-bremen.de

The main task will be to work on the Global Social Policy Digest. The working hours will be 10 hours per week.

Student assistant for the Global Social Policy (GSP) Digest

CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy is seeking to fill the following position:

Student Assistant for 10 hours per week

We are urgently looking for a highly motivated, reliable, and detail-oriented student assistant, with the ability to work in a team and independently, to support research activities and dissemination of the Global Social Policy Digest. The Global Social Policy Digest accompanies each issue of the peer-reviewed journal Global Social Policy and provides an overview of global social policy developments through the lens of redistribution, regulation, and rights, changes in global social governance arrangements, and currently provides sector-specific updates in the areas of health, social protection, education, and environmental justice.

Tasks may vary, but will include scoping current global social policy developments (from UN agencies, prominent bilateral development agencies, and international non-governmental organizations among others), communicating with the editorial team of the GSP Digest, assembling drafts of the GSP Digest, and updating the GSP Digest website.

English skills are a must and prior experience working within an international organization and/or policy-oriented environment and in designing and updating webpages is a strong advantage, as is a demonstrated ability to problem-solve and work creatively.

Main tasks

  • Scope and organize online links to global social policy updates
  • Regular communication with the editorial team
  • Assembling drafts of the GSP Digest
  • Updating the global social policy website


Necessary qualifications

  • Good communication and English language skills
  • Excellent skills using Microsoft Word and managing track changes and comments to documents
  • Ability to work to deadlines


Desirable qualifications (not necessary)

  • Prior experience working within an international organization or policy-oriented environment
  • Prior experience designing and updating websites
  • Demonstrated ability to problem-solve and work creatively


The position has an expected start date of 1 November 2021 and encompasses 10 working hours per week for two months, with the possibility of extension next year. Interviews for the position are expected to be held remotely on Monday and Tuesday, 27-28 September 2021. This position offers the opportunity to further develop knowledge and skills acquired during your studies as well as a great working atmosphere within the Collaborative Research Centre 1342 on the Global Dynamics of Social Policy.

If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact Amanda Shriwise (amanda.shriwise@uni-bremen.de).

Please submit your application (CV, current transcript of records, and one-page letter of motivation) as a PDF document to Amanda Shriwise (amanda.shriwise@uni-bremen.deby Friday, 24 September 2021.

Andreas Heinrich and four other authors examined the role of recipient countries in the transnational transfer of knowledge on health policy. Their findings are published in the current issue of Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

The projects B05 (China) and B06 (post-Soviet region) are each investigating the reform of state social policy and which role international influences have played in this. As there are many similarities in their research, the two projects often cooperate with each other. The most recent evidence of their fruitful cooperation is the paper "The Agency of Recipient Countries in Transnational Policy-Related Knowledge Transfer: From Conditionality to Elaborated Autonomous Policy Learning", which Andreas Heinrich, Gulnaz Isabekova, Heiko Pleines (all project B06) and Armin Müller and Tobias ten Brink (both project B05) recently published in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

The literature on transnational knowledge transfer mostly focuses on cases where the source of knowledge and the initiative for its transfer lie in the OECD. Heinrich, Isabekova, Müller, Pleines and ten Brink, on the other hand, consider in their paper cases where non-OECD countries have proactively sought policy advice abroad and evaluated the relevant ideas and concepts on the basis of their own requirements.

Based on the role of conditionality and the attitude of the recipient country towards cooperation with foreign sources of advice, the team of authors distinguishes five demand-side strategies in transnational policy-related knowledge transfer, each of which is analysed using the example of health care reform. The results highlight systematic differences in attitudes towards and use of foreign advice.

Below is a brief overview of the case studies that are analysed and discussed in more detail in the paper.

UKRAINE: Conditionality-Based International Knowledge Transfer

Ukraine is an example of the standard case of loan-based conditionality. Faced with imminent insolvency, the government was receptive to advice from international organisations. As Ukrainian policy advisors were also broadly in favour of IMF-supported reforms, this combination of external and domestic pressure encouraged the pursuit of reforms in spite of interest group opposition.

KYRGYZSTAN: Coordinated International Knowledge Transfer

The example of Kyrgyzstan corresponds to the ideal type of a coordination-based strategy. The recipient country has more leeway because the larger number of foreign partners makes roundtables and consensus-building the norm, as well as leadership from the recipient country and related stakeholders. This gives the government the opportunity to learn from different sources. At the same time, a high turnover of politicians and administrative staff limits both the capacity for policy analysis and the building of institutional memory.

RUSSIA: Sceptical Cooperation and Emphasis on Domestic Expertise

Since Putin became president, Russia has striven to become independent of international aid and influence. This also applies to social policy, where international advice has been pushed back in favour of national expertise. However, working relations with international organisations continue and domestic experts remain open to policy advice from abroad.

KAZAKHSTAN: Sovereign International Advice-Seeking

Kazakhstan's main goal is to establish the country as an equal and valued player on the international stage. This leads to official openness towards international organisations, and attempts to improve domestic expertise. At the same time, the authoritarian regime limits diversity in the national policy advisory system and restricts international advice accordingly.

CHINA: Elaborated Autonomous International Policy Learning

China has pursued a learning strategy in which bureaucratic actors tested foreign ideas that they considered compatible with their own interests. In their search for appropriate expertise, actors benefited from their long-term collaboration with international experts. China's strategy is "elaborate" in the sense that theoretical advice is sought to be tested in local experiments in order to make informed policy decisions; the strategy is "autonomous" in the sense that domestic politics is clearly prioritised over international commitments.


Contact:
Dr. Andreas Heinrich
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57071
E-Mail: heinrich@uni-bremen.de

A team of authors from project B04 has investigated how ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur regulate labour migration and which social policy rights are granted to migrants. Intraregional inequalities are an important factor in this context.

Almost two years ago, the SOCIUM SFB 1342 Working Paper Series startet with a paper by Armando Barrientos. In the meantime, the 20th paper has been published, in which Friederike Römer, Eloisa Harris, Marcus Böhme and Susanne Schmidt examine how ASEAN, the EU and Mercosur regulate labour migration and which social policy rights are granted to migrants: "Labour migration and migrant social protection in three regional organisations - Inequalities as a driving force?"

The team identified milestone agreements for each organisation on free movement and/or access to social protection for intra-regional migrants.  In a next step, the level of inequality between member states was measured for different points in time, both in terms of GDP per capita and social expenditure.

In the ASEAN region, overall regional integration in regard to labour migration between member states is limited, the authors write. Existing agreements are non-binding and patchy, and intra-regional migrant workers are mostly excluded from measures of social protection.  Net receiving states (in terms of migration) are opposed to agreeing on measures of social protection that would potentially drive up wages and induce other costs.

This low level of cooperation on migration and social protection is accompanied by very high intra-regional economic inequality and a lower but still large inequality in social spending among member countries.

Mercosur on the other hand can be characterized as promoting a very far reaching ideal of free movement and open borders, conceptualizing migration as a human right, which includes the decriminalization of undocumented migrants. Since 1997 citizens of Mercosur states can transfer social security rights acquired in a member state to any other member state. In 2010 a citizenship statute was signed which is intended to enforce freedom of movement, equal treatment with regard to civil, social, cultural and economic rights and equal access to work, health and education.

In Mercosur, economic inequality is the lowest compared to ASEAN and the EU, but it has increased slightly over the last two decades. A similar trend can be observed in inequality of social spending.

Compared to ASEAN, but also to Mercosur, regional integration is most extensive in the European Union. In the course of enlargement, however, economic inequality has increased significantly. The differences in social expenditure are lower in comparison, but still relevant. Overall, EU enlargement increased the incentive for workers to migrate to the wealthier countries. Subsequently the interpretation of EU citizens' rights in the Europen Court of Justice has become more restrictive and the project of "Social Europe" has come to a halt. Nevertheless, the authors conclude, stagnation rather than reversal characterises the current state of affairs. Strong path dependency continues to keep existing far-reaching agreements in place, making the EU still the most integrated of the three organizations compared in this paper.

---

Further reading: SOCIUM SFB 1342 Working Paper Series


Contact:
Eloisa Harris
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57080
E-Mail: eharris@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Friederike Römer
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67469
E-Mail: friederike.roemer@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Susanne K. Schmidt
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67484
E-Mail: skschmidt@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342 project director Heiko Pleines has received an award from the University of Bremen for his outstanding supervision of doctoral students. Out of 59 nominees, he received the first prize in the humanities and social sciences category.

The prize for outstanding doctoral supervision, which comes with a total of 4,000 euros, is awarded to university staff for their professional and committed supervision of their doctoral students and is granted in two categories: the humanities / social sciences and the natural / engineering sciences (1st prize: Rolf Drechsler).

From SFB 1342, Klaus Schlichte and Andreas Breiter were also nominated. Andreas Breiter was honoured by the jury (consisting of representatives of the "Alumni of the University of Bremen" association and the "Bremen Early Career Researcher Development" network) with a second place.

The nominations were made by young academics whose doctorate at the University of Bremen dates back a maximum of 4 years. The prize money, which is donated by the Alumni Association, is designated for a specific purpose and flows into the supervision and support of future doctoral students.

Heiko Pleines describes what he regards as good doctoral supervision in a short video interview (in German only).


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-69602
E-Mail: pleines@uni-bremen.de

The B06 team has published much of its research data on the online platform "Discuss Data". This makes it permanently accessible and usable for the public.

Project B06 "External Reform Models and Internal Debates on the New Conceptualisation of Social Policy in the Post-Soviet Region" investigates how Western reform models were evaluated by policy makers and the public in the post-Soviet region and what influence they had on actual social policy reforms.

The datasets posted on Discuss Data include information on the influence of international organisation on the reform process in the post-Soviet region, opinion polls in Russia as well as transcripts of parliamentary debates and presidential speeches.

Discuss Data: The research data of project B06


Contact:
Dr. Andreas Heinrich
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57071
E-Mail: heinrich@uni-bremen.de

As a PhD student in project B06, she researched how the interaction between international development organisations, governments and civil society influences the sustainability of aid programmes in the health sector.

Gulnaz Isabekova, PhD student and member of project B06, successfully defended her dissertation "The Impact of Donor-State-Civil Society Interaction on the Sustainability of Health Aid. Case Studies of Projects combatting Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan". After an online presentation of her work lasting about half an hour (with an audience of about 40 guests), Isabekova discussed her research design and main findings with the examining board. The board* evaluated Isabekova's work and presentation very positively and, after a short consultation, congratulated her on passing the oral examination.

In her work, Isabekova examined how different types of interaction among stakeholders (i.e., international development organizations, governments, and civil society organizations) affect the sustainability of aid programmes in the field of health care. She focused on the countries following the project-based (Armenia) and Sector-Wide Approaches (Kyrgyzstan) to development assistance. Isabekova studied three large healthcare projects financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Planned and implemented by recipients and not providers of development assistance, all three programmes represented the “bottom-up” approach to health aid. However, the projects varied in terms of their objectives and presence of conditions attached to the funding.

For her work, Isabekova collected the project-related documentation on selected cases and systematically analyzed the studies on development assistance, interaction among stakeholders, and sustainability of health aid in the context of developing countries. She has also conducted around 100 semi-structured interviews in the field and, on this basis, worked out causal mechanisms and hypotheses that explain the influence of the interaction among stakeholders on the sustainability of aid projects, i.e., whether project activities, benefits, and community capacity building persist locally after project funding has ended. According to Isabekova, although context-specific, these causal mechanisms and hypotheses are transferrable to health programmes in other developing countries following the project-based or Sector-Wide Approaches to development assistance.

Isabekova will submit her dissertation to the State and University Library for publication in the coming weeks.

Gulnaz Isabekova is the second doctoral student in CRC 1342 to complete her PhD, following Jean-Yves Gerlitz (project A03). Many more will follow in the coming weeks.

---

* consisting of Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines (first supervisor, University of Bremen), Dr. Monika Ewa Kaminska (second supervisor, University of Bremen), Assoc. Prof. Kristina Jönsson (external examiner, Lund University), Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink (Jacobs University), Prof. Dr. Michael Rochlitz (University of Bremen), Dr. Amanda Shriwise (University of Bremen) and Liva Stupele (University of Bremen).

---

Further readings:

Isabekova, Gulnaz, 2020: Mutual learning on the local level: The Swiss Red Cross and the Village Health Committees in the Kyrgyz Republic, in: Global Social Policy, online first.

Isabekova, Gulnaz; Pleines, Heiko, 2020: Integrating development aid into social policy: Lessons on cooperation and its challenges learned from the example of health care in Kyrgyzstan, in: Social Policy & Administration, online first.

Isabekova, Gulnaz, 2019: The relationships between stakeholders engaged in development assistance: towards an analytical framework, SOCIUM SFB 1342 WorkingPapers/3/2019, Bremen: SOCIUM, SFB 1342.


Contact:
Dr. Gulnaz Isabekova
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research Centre for East European Studies
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57073
E-Mail: gulnaz@uni-bremen.de

Bengüsu Abacıoğlu
Bengüsu Abacıoğlu
Bengüsu Abacıoğlu has researched and processed bilateral social security agreements as a student assistant of project A04. She is now writing a technical paper on this topic.

Bengüsu Abacıoğlu, 28, is studying "International Relations: Global Governance and Social Theory (MA)" at the University of Bremen. For about a year she is also working for projekt A04 "Global Developments in Health Care Systems and Long-term Care as a New Social Risk" as a student assistant.

Dear Bengüsu, how did you get the idea to work as a student assistant in our CRC and especially in project A04?

I wanted to gain further work and research experience when I started doing my master's. While I was looking for a job, I came across the project on the website. As I read about CRC and the description of the project itself, I found it very interesting because the research on the health and long-term care systems is very relevant both academically and practically since it has been and will be gaining importance globally. Also, the project is closely related to my field, International Relations, but at the same time, different from my previous work experiences. Thus, it was a great opportunity to obtain a deeper understanding of my field while gaining experience in a different area and broadening my horizon eventually. 

How are you involved in the project work?

I have been working in the project for over a year, and I am currently maintaining 33 hours per month. I used to go to the office, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, I have been working from home. I have been involved in a diverse range of tasks. For a while, I was helping with the extraction process of the treaties for the project's database. Thus, I was responsible for finding the bilateral social security agreements (BSSAs), extracting the necessary parts, and eventually uploading them to the system. Then, I was involved in the more technical side of the same process, such as text cleaning and PDF conversion by using R Studio. Recently, I have started working on a technical paper that will be published. For that, I have been conducting a literature review by reading, and summarizing the articles that would be useful for the base of the paper.

What are you learning through your work at the CRC?

Most importantly, I am learning the content of the BSSAs primarily through conducting a literature review. In that sense, I am getting familiar with qualitative analyses on the topic and their importance, as well as how quantitative analyses could contribute to the literature. On the technical side, working at the CRC enables me to be more familiar with tools for the database, such as Zotero and Seafile. Besides, I obtained knowledge on R Studio during the Advanced Quantitative Methods class I took in my master's. Through working in the project, I get the chance to practice and advance my knowledge in R Studio by engaging with the text mining process. 

Are you already working on your thesis or do you already have ideas for it?

I have recently started working on my thesis. My topic is active female participation in armed conflicts and whether their participation leads to their empowerment and emancipation.

What plans do you have for your further studies and the time after?

I intend to enhance my academic career by pursuing a Ph.D. degree. Then, I would like to work in an NGO.