News from Project B01


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

Simon Gerards Iglesias, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Simon Gerards Iglesias, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Delia González de Reufels and Simon Gerards Iglesias talk about the results of project B02, how they dealt with pandemic-related constraints and what is particularly appealing about the cooperation between history and political science.

You were faced with the monumental task of examining 90 years of socio-political development in three countries - how did you structure this huge task?

Simon Gerards Iglesias: There are different focal points for the three countries. I am examining the case of Argentina and have placed a focus on the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which has only existed since 1919. I have defined the following years up to the Second World War as the central period of investigation, because in this phase certain structures dominated relations between the ILO and Argentina and the foundations were laid for the future development of relations.

The period under study in the project is indeed long, yet it can be meaningfully considered because it is criss-crossed by long lines of development. What has always been important, for example, is the transnational exchange of knowledge. I also see this in Argentina from the 19th century until today: people are always looking at what is happening in Europe. And another point: we find certain path dependencies. If we look at the labour protection laws for women in Argentina and other Latin American countries, for example, we find that there were quite restrictive regulations here very early on. They were actually more restrictive than in Europe. In Argentina there were laws such as the Ley de silla, translated as the "chair law": In every industrial company, a chair had to be available for every employed woman, which was intended for recreational breaks. This was because in Argentina women's health was primarily linked to concerns about the health of mothers and thus the future generation, which is why women were allowed more rest breaks at work. Even today, this law can be found in a certain form so that attentive travellers can discover chairs everywhere in Argentina, even in the most curious places. The background, however, only becomes clear to those who can relate to Argentina's labour protection laws.

Delia González de Reufels: In the example Simon gave, one can see very clearly that social policy has left visible traces up to the present day and has responded to the concerns of the respective countries: The countries of the Cono Sur had precarious demographics in the 19th and also in the early 20th century. In Europe, where the population was growing exponentially at the time, employers may have been relatively relaxed about the fact that pregnant women were also at the machine and worked extreme hours. But it was different in the Cono Sur: there were fewer children and this was identified as a problem and taken up by social policy. The "Ley de silla" may seem bizarre today, but the future of the nation was decided at the workbench, at least when a pregnant woman was standing at it. Not surprisingly, population development was one of the lines of development along which social discussions unfolded, which can be followed very well over 90 years.

And during these nine decades, fortunately, events do not come thick and fast every year. It is rather a process of accumulation with important points of culmination. First of all, there had to be an awareness of the problem. The state did not immediately take on all problems, but rather made a selection. In Chile, our period of investigation begins in the 19th century, and in 1850 the government said for the first time that it was unacceptable for people to go to hospitals to die. These were so poorly equipped that patients had no chance of being cured. So in 1850, for the first time, there was a discussion about how government money, or more precisely: revenue from trade and customs duties, could be diverted into the development of a functioning hospital system. Until then, health had been a private matter, but in 1850, the Chilean state steps into this responsibility for the first time and begins to understand public health as a field of political action. And from that moment on, the field of health policy expands to include other elements. To observe this, the 90 years are actually ideal.

Your work is not only divided spatially, but also thematically. Delia, you mainly study the development of health policy in Chile, while Simon studies occupational health and safety in Argentina. How did this division come about?

Delia González de Reufels: All social policy fields are of course effective in all these countries. But in the case of Chile, I have noticed that many developments in occupational health and safety have emerged from health protection. In other words, from the observation that certain working conditions undermine people's health. This observation was made in the health sector, and therefore it made sense to focus on health policy.

And in the case of Argentina, we have occupational health and safety as a focus because the ILO Office for Latin America was established in Buenos Aires: After South America was initially administered from Madrid, the ILO moved to Buenos Aires with its own office and was present there. In order to be able to depict this development and its consequences in the project, we have made this separation. This gives a more complete picture than if all the developments in all the countries were traced.

Simon Gerards Iglesias: The separation also helps us to be able to apply the historiographic magnifying glass, i.e. this analytical approach, despite the large time period. This is only possible with a thematic division. On labour protection: In Argentina there was an important law in 1915 that redefined labour protection for industrial workers: it regulated compensation for accidents at work and for the first time gave the working class an important enforceable right to monetary compensation, which was a big step towards the later social insurance. Many regulations followed this law, and many bilateral agreements with European states were also concluded as a result. This example shows that social policy in the early 20th century had many transnational linkages and that rights for minority groups, such as foreign workers, were already introduced at an early stage in the development of the welfare state.

Delia González de Reufels: In Argentina, the work of a supranational organisation that looked at both areas - work and health - is becoming prominent. For health protection, we could have focused on the PAHO, founded in 1902. However, in Chile, health policy began much earlier and was closely linked to the professionalisation of medicine, which was of particular interest to us here because it was of great importance for the development of public health. So we have history before the foundation of PAHO to capture. And it is particularly important that the ILO takes up issues that have been discussed before on the part of public health. Through our division in the project, we have been able to capture this dynamic.

What other major influencing factors or mechanisms for social policy developments have you encountered in your work?

Delia González de Reufels: It was confirmed that the countries observed each other closely and also learned from each other and took up each other's initiatives. There was an intrinsic motivation to make a difference in the fields identified as important through their own measures, but there was also competition between them. Argentina and Chile observed each other very closely, even though there was a neighbour in the region, Uruguay, which was very reform-oriented and defined itself very much in terms of social policy progress. Nevertheless, the Chileans and Argentines looked to each other. And towards Europe, of course.

Simon Gerards Iglesias: Argentines looked in many directions, but always towards Europe. Argentines didn't really consider themselves Latin Americans, they always emphasised their special connection to Europe. You can find this in fashion, architecture and so on. Europe is then also an important reference point in social legislation. Spain is not seen as an old colonial power, and if it is, then as a positive one that introduced the first social laws with the so-called "Leyes de Indias". Argentina knew that it was not as industrialised as Europe, but at the same time it wanted to become so and copied many things - industrialisation, but also the related social legislation.

What is important with regard to the role of the ILO: I have the impression that the conventions and recommendations do not have that much influence on national social legislation. It is the classic problem of international cooperation: one only agrees on the lowest common denominator. As a result, many conventions are relatively weak and vague, they leave a lot of room for interpretation without really establishing a higher standard. This is clearly the case in Argentina. Here, conventions were ratified very late and only implemented in certain areas. They cherry-picked conventions for areas where there were already very sophisticated laws. As a result, the conventions usually had neither a positive nor a negative impact on Argentine legislation.

Nevertheless, the ILO was a very important actor: namely as a platform and hinge for knowledge generation in social policy. The ILO was the first and, at that time, the only organisation capable of carrying out large-scale comparative studies. It had also built up a huge library and archives that were used by Argentines. You can tell that from looking at the correspondences. Especially in the field of social security, a lot was requested from the ILO because it had built up an incredible wealth of knowledge.

You report that these countries looked very much to their neighbours and to Europe. The world was not as interconnected then as it is today. What were the ways of exchange?

Delia González de Reufels: The world was much more interconnected back then than we often imagine today. Back then, there were close connections, not by plane, but by ship. If we look at the organisations, but also the military, they were highly mobile personalities who could travel and see things in Europe for themselves. The same goes for doctors. Ideas travel with people, they also travel in writings. The actors read French, German, English and also Italian. Doctors in particular have mastered a wide range of European languages in order to be able to receive the specialist journals and to be at the cutting edge of their discipline; this at least applies to the luminaries. In the oldest medical journal, which is still published today, there was therefore always a kind of Reader's Digest that summarised what was being discussed in international journals. In this way, the entire medical profession could participate in medical advances. In some cases, one gets the impression that the authors were present when Robert Koch made another discovery; their enthusiasm about this is just as evident in the texts as the pride in their own discipline, which was constantly developing and would contribute to solving the problems of the time in Chile and elsewhere.

Simon Gerards Iglesias: There were also numerous attempts on the part of the ILO to have a stronger impact on these South American countries, to reach people and to enter the discourse. This began with Spanish-language publications in the 1920s. Then there were trips by ILO presidents, by Albert Thomas and Harold Buttler and other ILO personnel, who all travelled to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile to present the work of the ILO and to promote their organisation. On the other hand, there is interest and commitment from national authorities: The Argentine Labour Authority published papers from ILO conferences in its bulletin and their proceedings were translated into Spanish. This bulletin was read by social policy experts in Argentina, and so the debates and knowledge were carried into Argentina.

Argentina was always the most important country for the ILO to reach the whole of Latin America. This was because - as Delia says - Chile looked to Argentina and the smaller countries even more so. That's why, for example, Alejandro Unsain, a social lawyer from Argentina, was elected to a committee of the ILO, to the Executive Board. The declared feminist and socialist Alicia Moreau de Justo is also the only representative from a country in the southern hemisphere to become a member of the Commission for Women and Children. An attempt has thus been made to involve Argentinean actors, to bring them to Geneva and thus to promote exchange and the production of knowledge.

Delia González de Reufels: As a developed country, Argentina also had a special infrastructure to offer the ILO. This also applies to Chile. So in the 1930s, a large ILO meeting was held in Santiago. Chile enjoyed the fact that the world looked to Santiago. They were willing to pay for it, even in times when money was scarcer.  This also applies to the Congresses of Latin American Physicians, whose idea was developed in Chile. At the same time, the country organised the first congress, which was a further development of the first Chilean medical congress. Thus, national development and transnational development were closely interwoven.

We found that there were always eventful periods of time that were driven by transnational exchange as well as by domestic developments. Neither one nor the other alone is sufficient to explain the dynamics of social policy developments. There was always a link between the transnational and national levels. Only this created a dynamic that made change possible. This is true for all social policy areas.

You have spoken of your historiographical magnifying glass, yet you are part a CRC that is mostly about political science. What was challenging about this constellation and what was particularly fruitful?

Delia González de Reufels: It is challenging, that the two disciplines are used to look at different time spans. Historical science is operating very close to the source, and sometimes you don't see the bigger picture in the beginning, but have to work it out first. We are usually in the archives for a long time before we can start to falsify our theories and make statements on the basis of sources. Our colleagues in political science are much faster. But the CRC didn't start out of nowhere. There were years of preparation, it was also about developing a common language, uniting our perspectives and learning from each other. That's what makes it so exciting for me to this day. By the way, we mostly come to similar results and complement each other very well, even though we look at things differently.

Simon Gerards Iglesias: I think political science focuses very much on methods, e.g. causal mechanisms, which we also had to acquire first. We, on the other hand, have this source perspective, and it usually takes longer until we can present results. But it is a very fruitful cooperation. I learned a lot and was able to use theories on international relations for my dissertation.

Let's move on to an unpleasant topic: How did the Corona pandemic affect your project and your research?

Delia González de Reufels: It's really tough: we have travel funds that we can't use. At the moment it is completely uncertain when we will be allowed to travel again. And unlike many colleagues, we are bound to the printed word: we have to go to the library and the archives. There are ways around it: Through a contact in a Chilean library, I was able to have some material digitised and thus get access to sources. But of course, that is only an excerpt and cannot replace weeks of archival work. Because you have to know from a distance exactly where in which serial publication something relevant can be found. And you have to be sure that no mistakes are made during digitisation and that the collections are complete.

Simon Gerards Iglesias: Fortunately, I was in Argentina two years ago, right at the beginning of my dissertation phase, and was able to collect material there. Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the ILO has not let anyone into its archives, which is a shame and ultimately a bit incomprehensible. That is a huge problem. We have hardly been able to view any ILO archive material, only that which has already been digitised. That's a lot, but it doesn't include correspondence, letters and informal reports. Yet it is precisely these unofficial sources that we as historians are so interested in. And we still hope that the archives will be opened up in time to allow us to look at them.

Despite all this, what publications can we expect from you in the coming months?

Delia González de Reufels: A working paper will soon be published that presents the results of my research and that of Mónika Contreras and puts them up for discussion. This is about the field of social housing and how it affects a particular professional group: the Carabineros de Chile. This is a militarised and centralised police force, created in 1927 through a merger of various other police forces and present throughout Chile.This new national police force was quickly able to use the social housing legislation to make itself attractive as an employer and to turn the housing crisis in Santiago around in a positive way for the members of its own unit. Housing, after all, is more than just a place to live, it has an impact on family life, on health, on the social fabric. I also have two essays in the pipeline for which I can draw on archival material I was able to collect before Corona in Chile and the Conway Medical Library in Boston.

And as a project, we will contribute two chapters to a a volume that I am one of the editors of: The volume aims to look at the breadth and dynamics of global social policy dynamics. It was fun to present some of the results of our work in a short and concise form for our countries.

Simon, when will you complete your doctorate?

Simon Gerards Iglesias: I will probably finish in late summer. It will then be published a little later, i.e. after the colloquium. I also have a lot of material and sources that I haven't used yet. Based on that, I will still write paper, but that is only due in the second half of the year.


Contact:
Simon Gerards Iglesias
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaft / FB 08
Universitäts-Boulevard 13
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67204
E-Mail: sgerards@uni-bremen.de

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

In "Social Policy & Administration", 7 CRC 1342 projects have presented case studies of social policy dynamics in the Global South. Their synthesis shows: The concept of causal mechanisms is particularly well suited for analysing such dynamics.

Seven projects of CRC 1342's project area B have published a Special Regional Issue of "Social Policy & Administration": Causal mechanisms in the analysis of transnational social policy dynamics: Evidence from the global south. The main research question the authors address is: Which causal mechanisms can capture the transnational dynamics of social policy in the Global South?

In order to find answers to this question, the authors present in‐depth case studies of social policy dynamics in different countries and regions in the Global South as well as different fields. All articles focus on the interplay of national and transnational actors when it comes to social policy‐making. (The papers of this Special Issue are listed below.)

The key findings of the authors are:

  • Explanations of social policy‐making in the Global South will remain incomplete unless transnational factors are taken into account
  • However, this does not mean that national factors are no longer important. In social policy decision‐making, national institutional settings and actors are key
  • Mechanism‐based research can plausibly trace the interplay between transnational and national actors and its impact on shaping social policy outcomes. The articles identify a variety of causal mechanisms that can capture this interplay
  • The output of social policy‐making is complex and can often not be explained by a single mechanism. Examining the combination and possible interaction of several causal mechanisms can provide more in‐depth explanations 
  • The concept of causal mechanisms can also be applied in comparative analyses
  • Mechanisms can be traced inductively in one case and then be applied to another case.


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Johanna Kuhlmann & Tobias ten Brink (2021). Causal mechanisms in the analysis of transnational social policy dynamics: Evidence from the global south. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12725

Armin Müller (2021). Bureaucratic conflict between transnational actor coalitions: The diffusion of British national vocational qualifications to China. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12689

Johanna Kuhlmann & Frank Nullmeier (2021). A mechanism‐based approach to the comparison of national pension systems in Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12691

Kressen Thyen & Roy Karadag (2021). Between affordable welfare and affordable food: Internationalized food subsidy reforms in Egypt and Tunisia. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12710

Monika Ewa Kaminska, Ertila Druga, Liva Stupele & Ante Malinar (2021). Changing the healthcare financing paradigm: Domestic actors and international organizations in the agenda setting for diffusion of social health insurance in post‐communist Central and Eastern Europe. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12724

Gulnaz Isabekova & Heiko Pleines (2021). Integrating development aid into social policy: Lessons on cooperation and its challenges learned from the example of health care in Kyrgyzstan. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12669

Anna Safuta (2021). When policy entrepreneurs fail: Explaining the failure of long‐term care reforms in Poland. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12714

Jakob Henninger & Friederike Römer (2021). Choose your battles: How civil society organisations choose context‐specific goals and activities to fight for immigrant welfare rights in Malaysia and Argentina. Social Policy & Administration. https://doi.org/10.1111/spol.12721


Contact:
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58574
E-Mail: johanna.kuhlmann@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Tobias ten Brink
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Research IV and China Global Center
Campus Ring 1
28759 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 200-3382
E-Mail: t.tenbrink@jacobs-university.de

Teresa Huhle and Johanna Kuhlmann report in an interview on a 6-day seminar on social policy in the Global South that they led during the Spring Academy of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

CRC members Teresa Huhle and Johanna Kuhlmann led a working group at the Spring Academy of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation from 20 to 25 March 2021. Thirteen students from different disciplines took part in the six-day seminar on "Social Policy in the Global South - An Interdisciplinary Change of Perspectives". In the interview, Huhle and Kuhlmann tell us how the seminar turned out.

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Who was entitled to take part in the academy?

Johanna Kuhlmann: Scholarship holders who are at the beginning of their studies were able to take part in the academy. We had 13 students from the first to the sixth semester.

Teresa Huhle: Access was not restricted to any discipline. So we had a diverse mix: about half came from the social sciences, plus a historian. The others studied law, economics, medicine, physics and philosophy.

How was your seminar designed?

Huhle: We had five main working days - after an introductory day, each day had a thematic focus: colonial social policy, international organisations, development policy as social policy and finally propaganda and behavioural policy. Day six was dedicated to a review and the preparation of a presentation for the joint concluding evening of the academy. In preparation, the participants had to read two to three texts per day. But we then varied the individual days and worked on the topics in very different formats.

Kuhlmann: Especially with regard to the digital format, we wanted to activate the participants. That worked well. Two examples: We held a plenary debate on social policy as development policy, in which the participants acted as different characters in a kind of role play. Another time we discussed a social policy measure in detail: What reasons and arguments can be put forward for or against the introduction of a certain programme and what does the decision ultimately depend on?

Huhle: On the day on propaganda, one text was about health films produced by Disney in the USA for Latin America in 1943/1944. We were able to watch one of the films together and discussed it afterwards. We paid attention to variety in the formats. This worked well - the students were all very motivated and wanted to work and discuss in groups.

What criteria did you use to select the texts that served as the basis for each day?

Kuhlmann: Because we wanted to combine the historical and political science approach, we had to find texts that spoke to each other - be it because they complement or also contradict each other. The accessibility of the texts was also important to us. We also had students from other disciplines in the seminar. But it was an unfounded concern that they might be overwhelmed.

In the seminar, you were concerned with a change of perspective - did that refer to the North-South perspective or to the disciplinary perspective?

Huhle: When we announced the programme, we were thinking more in terms of the disciplines. But we quickly realised that what attracted the students was not the social policy or historical perspective, but the category "Global South". All of them were interested in questions of global inequality, colonial structures and their legacy, and so on. Many had also been abroad for a longer period of time, including voluntary service. Fortunately, some of them said at the end that it was particularly interesting for them to get an insight into the way we work in history and political science.

You had participants from a range of different disciplines - from physics to philosophy to law - were they still able to speak to each other in a "common language"?

Kuhlmann: Yes, that worked surprisingly well. Most of the time we didn't even notice who was studying which subject.

Huhle: The physics student once asked us not to simply use special terms without explaining them. Otherwise there was no moment when the subject affiliation came up. That was certainly because everyone was very motivated and interested. But perhaps it also plays a role that the participants had finished school not long ago. They have just come out of a system in which it is completely natural to deal with very different topics.

What did you as seminar teachers learn from the course, what did you take home?

Kuhlmann: In the seminar, students from very different disciplines contributed thoughts from their perspectives. That particularly appealed to me: It made me think about issues not only from a historical or political science perspective, but also, for example, from an economic or legal perspective.

Huhle: The seminar was very intensive and provided a lot of food for thought for everyone. I would very much like to do it again. And quite pragmatically: It was a great exercise for online teaching, we could try out very different methods. Presence cannot be replaced, of course, but we still managed to create a group atmosphere during the week. I feel like I actually got to know 13 people over the course of the week. And I really like that.


Contact:
Dr. Teresa Huhle
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58574
E-Mail: johanna.kuhlmann@uni-bremen.de

Öktem earned his PhD at Bilkent University in Ankara with a thesis on the emergence of welfare systems in the Global South. In the interview, he talks about his academic career and explains his role in the CRC.

Dear Kerem, you have moved to the University of Bremen a few weeks ago and are now also working in the CRC project B01 - welcome! What topics and tasks will you be working on in the next few months?

Kerem Öktem: As a member of the project on "Mechanisms of social policy diffusion", I will be looking in particular at the development of Turkish social policy. A particular focus of my work will be to understand which causal mechanisms have played a role in the introduction and development of unemployment insurance in Turkey.

After your studies in Bayreuth, you moved to Bilkent University in Ankara. What were your reasons for doing your PhD there?

Already during my studies in Bayreuth, I did an internship abroad at the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) and a semester abroad at the Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTÜ) in Ankara. For private reasons, it was obvious for me to stay in Ankara and so I decided to do my PhD at Bilkent University.

There is probably hardly a phase in the career of a scientist in which one can deal with a topic as intensively as during the PhD period. Your dissertation is entitled: "Pathways to universal social security in lower income countries: explaining the emergence of welfare states in the developing world". From your point of view, what was the most important insight you gained?

My dissertation is dedicated to the question of under which circumstances relatively poor countries develop such comprehensive social policies that they can be described as welfare states. What particularly surprised me was that social policy was developed in very different contexts, by governments and regimes of very different kinds. Two of the cases I looked at in detail were Brazil and South Africa. Here, for example, it was shown that in Brazil not only the democratic centre-left governments of the 2000s, but already the right-wing military regime from 1964 to 1985, and in South Africa not only the governments formed by the African National Congress (ANC) in the post-apartheid era, but already governments during the apartheid era expanded social policy for very specific motives.

In 2017, you moved to the University of Bielefeld and worked on the project "How 'Social' Is Turkey"? Can you give an answer to that - how social is Turkey?

The question "how 'social' is Turkey?" in the project title referred to our attempt to understand to what extent a social policy similar to European welfare states has emerged in Turkey. In doing so, we found that in recent decades the main social policy programmes that constitute the modern welfare state, such as an old-age pension or health insurance, have been introduced in Turkey and gradually extended to a large part of the population. In this respect, Turkey is now quite similar to European welfare states. However, if one looks at the details of the programmes, one sees that differences still exist. For example, there is no legal entitlement to basic material security as there is in Germany. If one takes a broader view of the context and sees the European welfare state embedded in the democratic constitutional state, the comparison obviously becomes even more difficult.

Will Turkey remain a focus of your academic work or will your interest shift to another region?

Researching Turkish social policy from a comparative perspective will remain a focus of my work. However, I would also like to turn more to other countries. If I have the time, I will, for example, look at social policy developments in India, which are surprisingly little discussed in international research.


Contact:
Dr. Kerem Gabriel Öktem
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
E-Mail: oektem@uni-bremen.de

Through window number 8 we would like to invite you to a workshop with Johanna Kuhlmann (CRC 1342) and Peter Starke (University of Southern Denmark), in which they analyse the role of emotions in social policy reform processes.

Workshop: Emotions and the Politics of Social Policy Reform -  Why Macron’s Pension Reform Failed (For Now)

The reform of the highly complex and expensive French pension system was one major point on Macron’s agenda. Although the government not only entered negotiations with interest groups, but also consulted with citizens, the reform proposal was swept away by protests and strikes even bigger than those of the Yellow Vests movement. What is striking is that the government’s approval rates plummeted even among those who would have benefited from the reform.

Johanna Kuhlmann (University of Bremen, CRC 1342) and Peter Starke (University of Southern Denmark) argue that emotional dynamics, especially the role of anger, can help explain the dynamics of Macron’s failed pension reform. Although emotions in politics have gained some ground in political science recently, they so far have played next to no role in policy studies and comparative welfare state research: Kuhlmann and Starke state that emotions are conspicuously absent from the theoretical literature on social policy reforms. They believe that it is about time that scholars take emotional dynamics more seriously.

In their paper "Emotions and the Politics of Social Policy Reform: Why Macron’s Pension Reform Failed (For Now)" Kuhlmann and Starke present a theoretical framework that allows them to analyse the role that anger plays within policy reform processes. They then apply this framework to the case of the French pension reform process.

Johann Kuhlmann and Peter Starke will present and discuss their paper at the Political Economy Workshop on 15 December 2020, at 2.30 pm. The workshop will be held online via Zoom. Guests are welcome to join. To receive the paper in advance, please subscribe to the Political Economy Workshop email newsletter or write an email to Bastian Becker and Hanna Lierse who are organising the workshop series.

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Have you missed some of the previous windows? Click here for the complete CRC 1342 Advent Calendar 2020.


Contact:
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58574
E-Mail: johanna.kuhlmann@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
Frank Nullmeier reflects on the concept of freedom in times of a pandemic. He argues to reform public infection control and to then understand it as a social policy instrument that facilitates freedom in the first place.

During the pandemic, infection control measures by governments and administrations interfere with everyday activities that citizens are used to. These measures are often described by critics as harmful to the freedom of the individual as well as of society. But such a concept of freedom is not appropriate in the context of a pandemic, Frank Nullmeier argues. It is first and foremost the pandemic that violates freedom. We need to develop a concept of welfare state freedom that allows to understand state intervention initially as a reaction to a state of unfreedom.

Historically, public disease control is rooted in policing, and thought patterns of social law and the welfare state have not become firmly integrated. Frank Nullmeier therefore argues that public infection control should be reformed and given a social policy character, similar to the regulation of employment relationships (e.g. work and safety). Appropriate forms of governance, which also implies an institutional restructuring of infection control policy, must be based on the concept of welfare state freedom, guided by the concept of social freedom.

Frank Nullmeier's complete essay at the Theorie-Blog: Covid-19-Pandemie und soziale Freiheit (German only)


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58576
E-Mail: frank.nullmeier@uni-bremen.de

Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels (photo: Steven Keller)
Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels (photo: Steven Keller)
Delia González de Reufels explains in an interview why Latin America has become the hotspot of the Covid 19 pandemic and how the countries are pursuing different strategies to cope with it.

The Covid-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly in Latin America. What's your take on the situation?

The WHO has only recently declared Latin America the new hot spot of the pandemic, and the situation is really frightening. Unlike in Ecuador, where the first case occurred as early as the end of February in connection with a visit to a relative of a woman living in Madrid, corona infections were not recorded in many countries until mid-March. This meant that people generally had more time to prepare for the outbreak than Europe and the USA, for example. However, this valuable time was often not used or could not be used.

How do you explain this?

It may sound trivial, but one of the explanations is that in the face of an impending pandemic, it is not possible to suddenly remedy all the failures of the past in the health sector. The Corona crisis exposes the weaknesses of health systems and general infrastructure, as well as the extent of corruption. At the same time, the crisis exacerbates existing social inequality, political problems and tensions. To name but one infrastructural shortcoming: not all households are supplied with drinking water everywhere. Those who have to fetch water meet neighbours there and will inevitably come into contact with many people. Decades of cutbacks in the health sector - and Mexico is a good example of this - also have a direct negative impact. In Mexico, public spending on health has remained the same despite a growing population. For years, they have amounted to just under 3% of the national budget. If you compare this with the expenditure of other countries in the hemisphere, only Guatemala and Venezuela spend less on health. This is in stark contrast to the importance Mexico used to attach to the health sector. After all, the country had invested heavily in public health and social security since the 1940s.

Another reason why the pandemic has hit many Latin American countries so hard is the populism of individual governments. Here, no attempt was made to counter the pandemic in a timely and targeted manner; rather, the danger of the corona virus was played down for a very long time. This also applies to Mexico. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador briefly reached into his jacket pocket at a rally in response to a question and took out two images of saints. He held them up and claimed to feel well protected. He explained that nothing could happen to him. In doing so, he actually evaded the question of government measures against the pandemic and gave the simple Mexicans the signal to be one of them; he did not concern himself with the scientific findings on the new virus. Recently, he has again refused to be tested for Covid-19 because he shows no symptoms. At the same time, the President signals: "This government sees no reason to do anything and, for example, to increase the testing capacities. We can see the terrible consequences of this attitude these days.

The virus has also spread with dramatic consequences in Brazil, where the pandemic as a whole was negated by President Jaïr Bolsonaro. The province of Amazonia, which is medically undersupplied, has suffered a dramatic loss of life, particularly among the indigenous populations. But even in a city like Sao Paulo, graves have become scarce in recent days, and the cemetery administration has been instructed to exhume those who died a long time ago and to store the bones in containers until further notice. This should make room for the many new dead. At the same time the true dimensions of the crisis are being obscured. The decision taken by the Ministry of Health to no longer publish infection numbers speaks for itself. However, it could not be maintained because it was criticised equally strongly at home and abroad. And Mexico did not always provide all the figures either, as was shown by the reports of medical personnel. These staff were often unable to reconcile their own observations with the figures published for the capital city of Mexico, for example.

Are there any counter-examples, i.e. governments in Latin America that have taken the crisis seriously and adopted good practice from other countries?

In the CRC's project B02 we look at Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, which are considered pioneers in the field of social policy and public health. And indeed, all three countries took far-reaching measures at a very early stage that fit in with what we know from Europe and are obviously oriented towards these instruments. However, in the southern hemisphere, the virus broke out in the autumn and the peak of the outbreak will be in winter. That will shape the crisis, but all three countries are operating quite successfully:

For example, since the first case was reported in mid-March according to official authorities, Uruguay has had surprisingly low infection rates and few deaths. According to official figures, the death rate here is 0.65 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is mainly attributed to the good condition of the health system, in which governments have continuously invested over the last ten years. The early closure of borders, schools and air traffic and the banning of major events may also have been decisive, but there were no curfews. Now, gradual relaxation is to take place, and the low infection rates have encouraged the government of President Luis Lacalle Pou to do so.

The situation is somewhat different in Chile, where almost 3000 people have died so far. Strict initial regulations continue to apply here, schools and universities remain closed. Santiago residents are only allowed to leave their homes two days a week, and then only with a pass and to do their shopping. These strict
Regulations affect the precariously employed particularly hard and are also problematic because they have fallen in a period of violent protests. In the social media it has already been suspected that the virus would suit the government of Sebastián Piñera. Unemployment, which is already rising, is further increasing social inequality, while at the same time the infection figures are still at a high level, so that easing is unlikely to be announced in the foreseeable future. The peak of the corona crisis is also still to come in Chile. Meanwhile, the unsuccessful health minister has been replaced, whose lack of intervention in the pricing of medicines had also been criticised in previous protests.

Argentina has been very successful so far, as the almost 30,500 infections (as of June 14, 2020) show, although the infection figures in Buenos Aires are currently on the rise again. The strict measures that the country has taken since 20 March can be considered the reason for the success in fighting the virus so far. In the field of public health, the Peronist government of Alberto Fernández has acted quickly and decisively. Right at the beginning of the crisis, it had declared its intention to build ten new hospitals in and around Buenos Aires. This was a very ambitious announcement in view of the foreign debt that the country has to pay and which also sets limits on the aid that can be given to the workers. However, it was probably a reaction to the news from China, where, given the dynamics of the outbreak, new hospitals were quickly built and the additional treatment places were apparently needed. Recognizing that urban density, as in Wuhan or New York City, is a major factor in the spread of the disease, the government has paid special attention to the Buenos Aires metropolitan area. The outbreak here has prompted the government to extend the "social distancing" measure until June 28, although other regions with lower infection rates may act more flexibly. For a period of 65 days, La Pampa did not count any new cases, and it was only in these days that the sixth infected person was reported at all, who immediately went into quarantine. So here too we see the application of the measures already practised in China.

Looking at the statistics of reported cases, it is striking that the countries of Latin America are affected to very different degrees.

There is obviously a connection between not testing and not knowing. At present, for example, the number of infections in Peru is rising rapidly, but it must be assumed that the number of unreported cases is much higher, which also affects the number of deaths. People die without being tested. This is also the case in Nicaragua. It is completely unclear how many people there have fallen ill with Covid-19 and how many have died of it. In the death certificates, pneumonia is given as the cause of death because the patients were simply not tested. This also means that they do not appear in the statistics. Instead, the government, which two years ago was the target of massive protests, is declaring that it is following the Swedish model. However, the alleged adoption of the Swedish model is an attempt to hide the fact that they do not have the necessary infrastructure and resources for a different approach.

Mexico had similar plans ...

Mexiko's president had also stated that the crisis would be managed without measures that were harmful to the economy. This is due to the fact that many people in the country are precariously employed or work in the informal sector. What do all the street vendors, the domestic workers do in lockdown? Those who have no savings cannot afford to stay at home. In a federally organized state like Mexico, however, the governors of the 32 states are of great importance, as the Corona crisis has shown. They have ordered lockdowns, closed schools and universities. But in some cases the infection rates were already very high.

What are the economic consequences for Latin America?

Arrangements such as those made by Germany, for example, with very generous support packages for the economy and workers, are something most countries cannot afford. Unemployment is therefore very high, although it is known that the unemployed in the informal sector do not appear in the statistics. As a result, the countries will slide into recession, and then it will become clear whether this will shake the faith in democracy and possibly attract other actors. In Brazil there was already concern that the military could be called in as a stabilizing factor. That would be fatal in a country that has experienced such a long and brutal military dictatorship, which has still not been dealt with.

Are there any other characteristics of the course of the pandemic in Latin America?

An important aspect is that these countries often fail to protect medical personnel consistently. In the long term, this will lead to an erosion of the efficiency of health care provision. There have been shocking reports from the beginning of the outbreak in Mexico City - which colleagues have confirmed to me - when hospital staff were instructed not to wear face masks or the like in order not to unsettle the citizens. There was concern that panic might break out among the population because they might understand that the pandemic is more dangerous than the government claims. The staff is still unprotected now because there is no protective clothing and masks in sufficient numbers. Doctors and nurses report that they have to find it themselves and buy it privately or use masks several times.

The government regards the population not as mature citizens, but as a people that must be manipulated.

Yes, that can also be seen from the fact which countries are prepared to give a precise insight into the figures of the outbreak. In Brazil, there have also been accusations that the situation in Amazonia is verging on genocide. Because indigenous populations are not protected by the authorities from contact with smugglers and gold-washers and other invaders into their territory. The population there was and is medically undersupplied, has no access to resources and no lobby. This is also very worrying.

Absolutely, but unfortunately it fits the priorities of the government.

That's right. Brazil under Bolsonaro aims very strongly at an economic development and penetration of the Amazon at the expense of the population living there. Marching towards a human and ecological catastrophe.

How does the Corona pandemic affect your research?

I wanted to fly to Chile in March for archival work. But I had to cancel the trip.

Travel will be difficult for many more months. What consequences does this have for your project?

We were lucky that we went on archive trips at a very early stage and reviewed and collected a lot of material. But on the other hand, now that we are evaluating our sources, gaps are appearing which we would like to close. The only question is, how can we do this? After all, European collections of sources are now becoming accessible again. But there remain the Latin American archives, which we cannot consult at present. This is definitely a burden, especially since there is no certainty for planning. We cannot assume that we will be able to close the gaps in the coming year. When the archives will be open again and when we can travel is unfortunately completely uncertain.


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

Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
In a podcast interview, Klaus Schlichte looks at the Covid-19 pandemic in African countries and the measures taken by governments.

"There are differences between countries, but repressive policies are the dominant ones," says Klaus Schlichte with regard to the governmental reactions to the spread of the novel corona virus in Africa. In many countries there are curfews, he says, which are massively enforced by the police, at least in the cities. What may seem necessary from an epidemiological point of view, however, also has negative consequences: "By stopping traffic, there are apparently already crises in the supply of food to the urban population," says Schlichte. If there were to be permanent increases in food prices, hunger riots would be a great danger. Even before the pandemic, many people in African cities could hardly afford food.

At present, the African continent seems to be comparatively little affected by the pandemic. This is due to the relatively low international mobility of the population. "But once the virus has reached the cities, it is likely to spread faster than in Europe, for example," says Schlichte. "Because people live closer together and have fewer retreat areas in the form of their own apartments or houses."

The poor data situation makes it difficult to predict how the pandemic will develop. One problem with the prognosis is that there is hardly any data on the spread of pre-existing conditions such as asthma and other respiratory diseases. "African societies are much younger than, say, European societies. There are comparatively few elderly people in whom Covid-19 is more likely to develop particularly severe conditions". This positive effect may be outweighed by the fact that there are many people who are malnourished and undernourished.

Economically, the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting African societies hard. Tourism, which is of great importance in the coastal regions, but also in the interior in the form of safaris, is experiencing a massive slump. "More important, however, is the decline in so-called remittances [i.e. money transfers from family members working in Europe, for example]. As a result, the most important source of foreign currency in African economies is collapsing." In total, the remittances are higher than the total development aid that African countries receive.

In the medium term, however, the Corona crisis could also have positive consequences: "It is possible that pressure on African governments will now increase," says Schlichte, "to spend more money on public health care and less on the military and police.

The podcast interview with Klaus Schlichte was conducted by Thomas Walli of the Institute for Political Science at the University of Innsbruck as part of the special series "Corona and Politics".


Contact:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67475
E-Mail: kschlich@uni-bremen.de

Johanna Kuhlmann (project B01) is currently (January to March 2020) a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

She is a guest of Professor Jane Gingrich. During her stay, Johanna works on causal mechanisms in actor-centred approaches to comparative social policy.

Johanna Kuhlmann Oxford_Profil.png (174 KB)


Contact:
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58574
E-Mail: johanna.kuhlmann@uni-bremen.de