Conferences - Lectures - Workshops

25.09.2019 Internal Workshop

CRC Retreat

Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen

9 am - 6 pm
Contact Person

9 am – 12 pm
Plenary Session (Cartesium, Rotunde)

1. Welcome and Meeting of Members of the CRC: General Information (Working Paper Series, Book Series, First information about the CRC Grant Application 2022-2025, Integration project areas A and B)

2. Preliminary Results: A01 and B01

3. First results of selected projects

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm
Lunch at Mensa (Reserved Area)

1.30 pm – 1.45 pm
Coffee Break in front of Unicom 3.3380 and 3.3390

1.45 pm – 3.45 pm
Separate Meetings of Project Areas A and B (Unicom 3.3380 and 3.3390)

3.45 pm – 4 pm
Coffee Break in front of Unicom 3.3380 and 3.3390

4 pm – 6 pm
Discussions in thematic groups: International Organisations, Health, Migration, Poverty (Unicom 7.4500, 3.3380. 3.3390, 1.1050)

8 pm
CRC Party

Unicom building
Room: 7.4680
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
11 am - 1 pm

07.11.2019 - 08.11.2019 Conference

Causal Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Policy Dynamics

Teilprojekt B01: SFB 1342, Universität Bremen
Haus der Wissenschaft
Sandstraße 4/5
28195 Bremen
8.30 am - 5.00 pm
Contact Person

Recent theoretical and methodological developments in the social sciences converge into the approach of "mechanism-based explanation". Originating from different disciplines such as analytical sociology, political sociology, comparative historical analysis and qualitative research in political science, mechanism-based approaches stress that phenomena cannot fully be explained by correlations between variables: Causal mechanisms are the "cogs and wheels" that scholars come across when opening the "black box" of correlations.

Despite the expanding literature on this topic, two deficits have not been resolved so far:

  1. There is no convincing compilation of mechanisms that drive social and political processes. Previous proposals for a comprehensive list of mechanisms collect elements of very different scales and levels. There is no shared understanding on what level (micro, meso, macro) mechanisms should be allocated and what elements a mechanism should have to count as a mechanism.
  2. There is also a lack of systematic applications of mechanism-based approaches to an entire policy field. So far, mechanism-based approaches have primarily been used in single case studies or comparative case studies with a limited scope and range. Adopting a mechanism-based approach for studying the transnational dynamics of an entire policy field might be a decisive test for the fruitfulness of mechanism-based approaches.

This conference aims to stimulate discussion on the characteristics of causal mechanisms, and to establish a closer link between these concepts and the study of social policy dynamics.


Day 1

Registration and welcome coffee

Gary Goertz, University of Notre Dame
The veil of ignorance – causal mechanism – process tracing methodology

Session 1: Theorizing Mechanisms


Renate Mayntz, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
Promise and limits of mechanism-based explanation

Session 2: Mechanisms of Social Policy Dynamics – Comparative Approaches

James Mahoney, Northwestern University Causal mechanisms and theories of causality: Three approaches

Session 3: Mechanisms of Social Policy Dynamics – Transnational Interdependencies

Day 2
Session 4: Mechanisms of Social Policy Dynamics – Single Case Studies

Plenary Session: Could we hope to compile a list of basic causal mechanisms?
Peter Starke, University of Southern Denmark Delia González de Reufels, Johanna Kuhlmann, Frank Nullmeier, Klaus Schlichte, University of Bremen


Session 5: Mechanisms of Social Policy Dynamics in Latin America

Armando Barrientos, University of Manchester The rise and fall of Bismarckian social policy in Latin America

09.11.2019 Workshop

International Knowledge Transfer in Social Policy: The Case of the Post-Soviet Region

Teilprojekt B06: SFB 1342, Universität Bremen
Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen
Klagenfurter Straße 8
28359 Bremen
9 am - 5 pm
Contact Person

Call for Papers

For a combined, three-day event we invite proposals for papers on "International Knowledge Transfer in Social Policy: The Case of the Post-Soviet Region". The event takes place from 7-9 November 2019 in Bremen (Germany).

It begins with a two-day conference on "Causal Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Policy Dynamics" in the House of Science in Bremen. Confirmed keynote speakers are: Renate Mayntz (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies), James Mahoney (Northwestern University), and Peter Starke (University of Southern Denmark).

On the third day there will be a workshop on "International knowledge transfer in social policy: The case of the post-Soviet region". Participants selected from this call are invited to join the conference and to present their papers at the third-day workshop, which takes place at the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen on 9 November 2019. It intends to complement the conference on causal mechanisms with the discussion of research on dynamics of international knowledge transfer in social policy in the post-Soviet region. Special emphasis is made on the policy fields of basic income security (alleviating poverty), health care and education.

The workshop aims to bring together approaches from political science, sociology and other relevant academic disciplines to get a more comprehensive picture of the influence of social policy concepts originating in the OECD world on reform processes in the post-Soviet region and of the role that international actors play in this knowledge transfer. The focus of invited papers should always be on the international knowledge transfer and on the domestic evaluation of these social policy concepts.

Deadline for proposals: 30 April 201

Deadline for the submission of paper proposals is 30 April 2019. In addition to a 300 word abstract, please include a brief biographical statement in your submission. Selected paper-givers will be invited by 31 May 2019. Full papers will be due 15 September 2019.

The workshop will involve around 15 scholars; early-career researchers are especially encouraged to apply. Travel expenses and accommodation costs of invited participants will be covered by the organiser. For further information on our research group, visit our website.

We plan to publish selected workshop papers in a special issue of Global Social Policy.

Paper proposals and any questions should be addressed to:
Dr Andreas Heinrich (