News from Project B01


Prof. Dr. Delia Gonzáles de Reufels
Prof. Dr. Delia Gonzáles de Reufels
Interview with Delia González de Reufels on the protests against the Chilean government and the first results of her research visits to Santiago de Chile.

For a very long time Chile was regarded as a very stable and economically successful country. But suddenly there are mass protests and violence, especially by the security forces. How did this happen?

The current trigger was an increase in public transport prices. This may seem incomprehensible, but Chile already has the most expensive transport system in South America. In addition, in the metropolitan region of Santiago with its eight million inhabitants, the distances are very long. Not everyone can live where they work. The transport system is therefore used by many on a daily basis and a considerable part of their income is spent on this alone. After all, who uses public transport? Chileans with top incomes, of which there are many, are not dependent on it. There are a lot of people with small and middle incomes in the Santiago area and the price increase hits them very hard. But the dissatisfaction is also directed against the lack of socio-political interest of the current government, which in its second term of office has no new visions for a more socially just Chile. This has disappointed many who had hoped for initiatives in core areas such as pensions, education, health care and health insurance.

Despite the country's great economic success, if you look at the macro data, not all sections of the population seem to have benefited. Or why is it that many parts of the population are so poor?

This is an interesting finding. At the macro level, Chile is a very rich and prosperous country, it is an OECD member and has been spared major economic crises. But in the end you have to ask yourself who is actually benefiting from these developments. A very large part of the population generates only a minimum income and has to bear rising costs for local transport, rent and heating. Water supply is also expensive. Chile also has to bear many economic consequences of the military junta's policy, which came to power in 1973 through a bloody coup. For example, energy companies can raise the price of heating oil in winter. These are the results of the economic reforms that took place during the dictatorship and that were not revoked afterwards. This has led to great inequalities. Large sections of the population have the impression that they struggle but do not participate in the country's prosperity. This rage has now unloaded and is unlikely to subside as quickly.

What does the Chilean social system look like? Can't it absorb poverty?

As one of the pioneers of social policy, Chile developed and implemented many measures very early on. But it also downscaled and withdrew programmes and redefined who benefited from these measures. Even though there have been many new socio-political interventions, the military dictatorship continues to have an effect here as well. Because politics has never really devoted itself to poverty reduction, Chile - like many other Latin American countries - has many poor people. Poverty was condoned and therefore persisted.

How do you explain that? Since the military dictatorship was not dependent on the masses to be elected? Because you could ignore them?

Yes, and because, on the one hand, the military dictatorship has made clientele politics and, on the other, it has opened itself to neo-liberalism and reformed the economy accordingly. The argument that a dictatorship can carry out efficient reforms because it does not have to assure itself of the voters' approval and coordinate processes in parliament etc. also played a role here. As a result, people have been left behind. Although the country stands out on the macroeconomic level by South American standards and is considered very stable, it has been fermenting below the surface for a long time. Despite everything, the country is still very attractive, with many immigrants coming from neighbouring Spanish-speaking countries. Chile has also recorded an influx from Haiti in recent years, which is predominantly male and very noticeable in Santiago. The Afro-Caribbean population has not been found in Chile until recently. The country is also now confronted with the challenge of offering Spanish as a foreign language, which up to now has not had to be taken into account in immigration. The country is not prepared for this, and many Chileans are critical of this new immigration.

With regard to your research, you were now on site yourself and did research in archives. What did you find there?

I was in the National Library in Santiago, which has excellent collections from the 19th century, which is the time I also consider in my research. I was also in the National Archives, which houses a variety of relevant sources. In the archives, I tried above all to get an idea of the socio-political ideas of key actors, to read their publications, and to get acquainted with those with whom they exchanged ideas. I was able to close important gaps and also work with serial sources that are important for my research interests. For example, journals, but also individual works that cannot be found in the National Library in Spain either.

What kind of journals are these?

For example, I have worked a lot with a specialist journal for Chilean doctors. The doctors got together very early and founded a journal in Santiago based on the European model. Chile is still a strongly centralised country, and at that time there was only one medical training centre: the Escuela de Medicina at the University of Santiago. All medical graduates therefore knew each other and wanted their own journal to communicate what was going on in Chile and other countries, what was published in European journals and above all to discuss what Chilean medicine was doing and how the country's medical education should be changed. So scientific as well as disciplinary interest was brought into this medium. The exciting thing for me is that this journal became such an important forum for the exchange of doctors. The role of medicine in society was also discussed here. This journal still exists today, but with a clear focus on scientific topics. It has been published without interruption, even during the time of the military dictatorship, and has become a place where doctors have negotiated what needs to be improved in Chile in order for people to be healthier. These considerations have also been incorporated into the country's social policy instruments.

Can you predict the first results of your research project on Chile?

Yes, in the field of social policy we are dealing with actors who we also encounter in Europe, but who, in the absence of other actors in Chile, are becoming more important and are taking different paths.

You mean, the doctors?

Yes, they didn't make any progress with their demands and suggestions - so they got themselves elected to the congress and took office as members of parliament with the claim to make politics in their sense. In the congress, they themselves introduced proposals for laws and voted on them. This is something we see throughout the 20th century. Thus the later Chilean President Salvador Allende was a doctor, worked as a health minister and wrote 1939 with the volume "La Realidad Médico-Social Chilena" one of the important books about Chile's social problems. With this work Allende has politically distinguished himself. This is no coincidence, but the result of the great proximity of medicine to politics, which was established in Chile in the 19th century.


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. Kerstin Martens, Prof. Dr. Marianne Ulriksen, Sharla Plant, Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens, Prof. Dr. Marianne Ulriksen, Sharla Plant, Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Prof. Dr. Delia González de Reufels
In a workshop with publisher Sharla Plant the editorial board finalised its plan for the next 18 months and developed ideas for further volumes.

At the beginning of December, the editors of the new CRC Palgrave Macmillan book series "Global Dynamics of Social Policy", Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Delia González de Reufels, Kerstin Martens and Marianne Ulriksen met with Palgrave publisher Sharla Plant in Bremen. It was jointly agreed that three volumes would be published next year:

  • Carina Schmitt (Ed.): Social Protection in the Global South
  • Lutz Leisering (Ed.): A Hundred Years of Social Security in Middle-Income Countries
  • Kerstin Martens, Dennis Niemann & Alexandra Kaasch (Ed.): International Organizations in Global Social Policy


Subsequently, the draft of an edited volume was discussed, which will tell a short history of socio-political turning points worldwide in about 40 short articles. The contributions are exclusively provided by members of CRC 1342 and are based on results of its 15 projects. The volume will be published in the first half of 2021.

After the editors had decided on a design for the Palgrave CRC series, Sharla Plant met in the afternoon with around a dozen authors who presented their ideas for further volumes in individual discussions. These ideas will be finalised in the coming months.

Dr. Olivier Burtin
Dr. Olivier Burtin
The historian Olivier Burtin from the LMU was a guest at the CRC 1342 and explained the generosity of veteran care as a result of numerous causal mechanisms.

At the beginning of November Olivier Burtin, historian at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, was a guest at the CRC 1342. Burtin gave a guest lecture at the Socium and took part in the conference "Causal Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Policy Dynamics" on the following days.

Burtin investigates the development of the US-American social program, which exclusively favours war veterans and has an annual budget of about 220 billion US dollars. Burtin interpreted the social program for war veterans as the result of several causal mechanisms:

  • The USA was involved in many wars
  • The wars were fought almost exclusively outside the country, which hardly affected the civilian population, unlike the soldiers - this gap gives moral weight to the claims of the veterans
  • Veteran organizations are established and influential political forces
  • Social benefits for veterans have a long tradition
  • Until the middle of the 20th century, the US army consisted almost exclusively of white men, a group with great political weight
  • And, finally, politicians were reluctant to cut benefits for veterans so as not to jeopardize their chances of success in elections.

 


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. Armando Barrientos
Prof. Armando Barrientos
Barrientos, a leading expert in social policy and poverty reduction in the Global South, will stay in Bremen until early December.

Armando Barrientos has joined the Collaborative Research Center 1342 last week as a Mercator Fellow. Barrientos is a leading international expert on social policy and poverty reduction in the Global South. Most recently he has publishes extensively on the expansion of social assistance in Latin America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Barrientos will initially stay in Bremen until the beginning of December. During this time he will participate in the conference "Causal Mechanisms in the Analysis of Social Policy Dynamics", where he will give a lecture on "The rise and fall of Bismarckian social policy in Latin America". In the coming weeks, Barrientos will also consult with various projects of the CRC 1342. After his visit Barrientos will remain a consultant and cooperation partner of the CRC 1342. In the coming year, for example, he will organise a colloquium for doctoral students researching social policy in Latin America.

Armando Barrientos is the first Mercator Fellow at the CRC 1342. The DFG-funded Mercator Fellowships facilitate intensive and long-term exchange with international researchers.


Contact:
Prof. Armando Barrientos
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58521
E-Mail: Armando.Barrientos@manchester.ac.uk

The Socium and the CRC 1342 have launched a working paper series. The first papers have now been published.

The series is opened by Armando Barrientos, Professor Emeritus at the Global Development Institute (University of Manchester) and currently Mercator Fellow in the project “Mechanisms of Social Policy Dynamics” (B01). Additional authors of the series are Bastian Becker (Socium), Gulnaz Isabekova (CRC 1342), and Greta-Marleen Storath (CRC 1342).

The working papers can be found here:
https://www.socialpolicydynamics.de/working-paper-series

The SOCIUM SFB 1342 WorkingPapers offer an additional and fast opportunity to publish research results including a double-blind peer-review procedure. The working paper series is open to all members of the Socium and the CRC 1342, as well as their cooperation partners.

The working paper series is coordinated by Johanna Kuhlmann.


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

The Collaborative Research Centre 1342 and Palgrave McMillan are publishing a new book series. The first volumes will be released in early 2020.

The CRC 1342 and Palgrave McMillan launched this series in order to publish research findings produced within CRC 1342, as well as from external colleagues.

This series welcomes studies on the waves, ruptures and transformative periods of welfare state expansion and retrenchment globally, that is, across nation states and the world as well as across history since the inception of the modern Western welfare state in the nineteenth century. It takes a comprehensive and globalized perspective on social policy, and the approach will help to locate and explain episodes of retrenchment, austerity, and tendencies toward de-welfarization in particular countries, policy areas and/or social risk-groups by reference to prior, simultaneous or anticipated episodes of expansion or contraction in other countries, areas, and risks.

One of the aims of this series is to address the different constellations that emerge between political and economic actors including international and intergovernmental organizations, political actors and bodies, and business enterprises. A better understanding of these dynamics improves the reader’s grasp of social policy making, social policy outputs, and ultimately the outcomes of social policy.

The editors of the series are the CRC 1342 members Lorraine Frisina Doetter, Delia González de Reufels and Kerstin Martens, as well as Marianne Ulriksen (University of Southern Denmark/University of Johannesburg).


Contact:
Dr. Lorraine Frisina Doetter
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 3
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58561
E-Mail: frisina@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

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-67498
E-Mail: martensk@uni-bremen.de

Prof Dr Frank Nullmeier at the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs
Prof Dr Frank Nullmeier at the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs
CRC member Frank Nullmeier was consulted as an expert in the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs as to whether proposals of the opposition parties were suitable for tackling old-age poverty.

The political discussions about a basic pension as an instrument against poverty in old age are gaining momentum. Even before the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, presented a draft law, the four opposition parties each presented their own basic pension concepts to the Bundestag. On Monday, experts were heard in the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs, including Frank Nullmeier of the Collaborative Research Centre Global Dynamics of Social Policy.

The central topic of the hearings was whether poverty should be tackled within the statutory pension insurance system or in the area of basic income support. The latter had been proposed by the AfD and the FDP. A major objection to this was that this would extend the basic pension to more and more pensioners, so that a kind of 'combined pension' would be created from the basic pension and contribution-based pension - with negative consequences for the legitimacy and acceptance of the statutory pension insurance. Because: "In the basic security system, the principle of needs-based justice applies; in the social security system, a principle of entitlement to benefits applies", said Nullmeier. "We must separate the two from each other and not mix the legal entitlements. Mixing them up is a great danger - for social cohesion and the legimitation basis of the statutory pension insurance system. The legimitation of the statutory pension insurance would be endangered if long-standing contributors were not "free from the proximity to poverty in old age and to receiving basic income support", said Nullmeier. This problem must be addressed and this would not be achieved by a combined solution, but only by improving the statutory pension insurance system. "If the labour market creates wages that are too low, you can either change the wage system - the minimum wage provides for this - or you have to create systems that are part of the statutory pension insurance system and follow the tradition of pension according to minimum income and pension according to minimum wage credits (Mindestentgeltpunkten)".

The hearing also made clear that an organisational link between basic income and pension would only lead to double bureaucracies and would not allow administrative relief. Against these solutions stood models of raising the incomes of all pensioners to a level above the poverty risk threshold through a new, comfortable form of basic security with correspondingly high financial burdens (Die Linke) and a solution purely within the pension insurance system through an increase in the pensions of all insured persons with more than 30 years of insurance contributions to a pension corresponding to 30 wage credits (Bündnis90/Die Grünen). This would eliminate the need for a basic pension.

The Deutsche Bundestags shares May 6th hearing at the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs as a video stream (in 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

Hubertus Heil and Eva Quante-Brandt
Hubertus Heil and Eva Quante-Brandt
Hubertus Heil was visiting SOCIUM and CRC 1342, where the Federal Minister discussed pension reform proposals and the future of social policy research.

Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, discussed with members of the Collaborative Research Centre "Global Dynamics of Social Policy" and of SOCIUM on Friday. Topics were pension and labour market policy reform projects as well as the situation of social policy research.

Low pensions and growing poverty among the elderly are a pressing problem that challenges the legitimacy of the public pension system altogether. Heil said that he was eagerly awaiting the recommendations of the Pension Commission, which are expected for March 2020. However, the government could not "not do any pension policy" until then. In connection with his latest pension reform proposal, the introduction of a so-called basic pension, Heil asked the social policy researchers present whether they considered a means test advisable. Frank Nullmeier, speaker of the SOCIUMS and board member of the SFB 1342, said that a means test was not advisable, the scientific community agreed on this point.

According to Nullmeier, the basic pension does not cover the growing group of precarious self-employed people, who, however, are particularly threatened by poverty in old age. Nullmeier introduced the idea of a "digital social insurance" in order to counter their poverty in old age: business premises of the digital economy, e.g. Internet hubs, could be subject to a levy linked to the data volume in order to generate employer-equivalent contributions to the public pension scheme for precarious self-employed persons (similar to the Künstlersozialversicherung). Heil then said that in many cases it was difficult to define who was self-employed, but the concept was interesting.

"As Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, I am dependent on social policy research beyond the time horizon of daily politics in order to identify and solve problems early on," said Hubertus Heil. With the funding network interdisciplinary social policy research (FIS), his ministry has taken an important first step towards promoting social policy research. Further projects are to follow. The Minister did not go into detail on this point. He simply said: "My dream is a DIW for social policy research". The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) is one of the largest economic research institutes in Germany and is a non-profit association funded by the State of Berlin and the Federal Government. Additional means stem from third-party projects and donations.

Prof Dr Klaus Schlichte
Prof Dr Klaus Schlichte
Klaus Schlichte talks about his research stay in Kampala: systematic research, planned irritations, and coincidence revealed a lot about social policy issues of Uganda.

Dear Mr. Schlichte, for project B09 you have recently been in Uganda for about two months. What was the aim of the stay?

My aim was a general mapping. Because social policy in Africa is by no means as well researched as in the OECD or Europe. And there are forms of social policy that are less present in the Global North, such as subsidising staple foods or preventing epidemics. So my aim was to gather views on this: What do people think about social policy issues in Uganda? What are the positions of the government? What do nurses, doctors or teachers' unions think? But I also wanted to know how "ordinary" people, i.e. non-experts, deal with issues like illness or health care in everyday life. There was no overarching question: in mapping, you try to put together a collage and be open to everything that arises.

But you have not flown to Uganda unprepared, have you?

Of course not. I have worked on other issues in Uganda before and therefore have a number of contacts. Nevertheless, I didn't want to go looking for material with a narrow question in mind. We call this field research, you could also call it ethnography. Of course I also do expert interviews, but everyday stories are just as much a part of it as everything that' s written in the newspaper and what people tell me in informal conversations. I also collect all kinds of documents, informal papers, for example from development aid organisations working in Uganda. The assumption is that everything is material. Everything you see, hear and find. There is no limit.

So you flew to Kampala with one suitcase and returned with five? Or more seriously: How do you document your work during mapping?

In the past, when all documents were still printed, I actually packed mailbags and sent them to Germany. But of course, almost everything in Uganda is digitalized today and fits on a USB stick and in a few folders.

And do you record conversations with people?

Sometimes. But most of them I don't. A lot of conversations are everyday conversations, so it would be very strange to fiddle around with the microphone in someone else's face. I usually take notes in conversations and write everything down in detail afterwards. This later results in a transcript of the conversation. The important thing is that I sit down straight away. That's why I immediately go to a café, go home or to the library after a conversation and write a transcript based on my notes.

Was there anything on your trip that surprised you?

What surprised me was that all the policies are subject to Uganda's democratic machine. This goes so far that many Ugandan experts now doubt democratisation because political competition has become so fierce that it creates interference in all kinds of policies.

Can you give an example?

Let us look at police work in Uganda. During election campaigns, the entire police force is on the road on behalf of the government. Everything is used so that the president can travel smoothly through the country and the masses can be organised to cheer for him. The normal police work is left behind, and the resources of the police are not abundant anyway. This principle also applies to schools and health care. Political support is generated through the distribution of already scarce public resources. We also know this from Germany: certain regions and groups are provided with resources to generate loyalty. In Uganda, this is happening in a radical way, which has to do with widespread poverty. The incumbents set the entire state in motion for political competition. Even intellectual, liberal and progressive people told me that Ugandans should vote less and at longer intervals, because too much money and too many resources are being burned for creating loyalty. I was surprised at how critical the public opinion has become of democratic procedures.

Elections in Uganda take place every 4 or 5 years.

Yes, usually the president is in office for five years, the parliament is also elected every five years. That sounds like a relaxed rhythm. But loyalty must be secured in between as well. You need parliamentary majorities. And Parliament is not as disciplined by parties as it is here, instead the loyalty of MPs is also managed by building hospitals, roads and the like. Because the MPs are under a certain pressure to deliver certain benefits to their constituency.

Which brings us to social policy.

Where are the hospitals being built? Where they are beeing needed, or where the MP lives whose support is being needed? This logic surprised me. I do not think that Uganda is an isolated case here; we will be able to observe this in many states, including far beyond Africa: the political establishment is also an entrepreneurial establishment. For example, the Permanent Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education is also the owner of several private secondary schools. The same can be seen with many members of parliament. These are political entrepreneurs who are strongly linked to the privatization of education and health. This has created an oligarchy that can have no interest at all in making education and health a public good again. The booming market for education in Uganda in particular is firmly in the hands of those who also have the political say. A locked-in situation, which is so stalled that one wonders: How will this ever change again? This is perhaps a second thesis that emerged from the stay.

I imagine it would be difficult to verify on-site such things as the confictinginterests of the Permanent Secretary of State in the Ministry of Education.

Of course, people don't tell you in front of a microphone, rather in a confidential conversation. But you can verify such things just as you can in Germany, for example, by going to the Chamber of Commerce and looking up who is registered there as an entrepreneur and for which business.

I ask because your colleague Roy Karadag tried a similar mapping in Egypt and was blocked, at least by the authorities and ministries.

That is quite different in Uganda. You have to register with the authorities and ministries at the reception desk, but then - and this makes it incredibly easy for research - you can move around the building completely freely. You simply knock on the doors. You may have to wait or come back the next day, but the people are always willing to talk. Uganda is much more liberal than Germany, in this respect.

Your mapping method also depends on coincidences. One such coincidence has made you familiar with the Ugandan hospital system. Would you briefly tell me about that?

In Kampala I stayed with a former doctoral student who sublet rooms of her house. A news presenter was staying there as well as my landlord's uncle, who had come to Kampala from the countryside because he had tongue cancer. His example illustrated to me how Uganda's health care system works and what role family, kinship and friendship play in social security. Uganda has about 40 million inhabitants. For people who do not have private health insurance and cannot afford surgery - about 98 percent of the population - there is exactly one ward in the whole country where cancer surgery is possible. His uncle would have died if his niece hadn't had a job to finance his hospital stay. That was the first condition why he is still alive today. The second was that 20 Chicago doctors operated in the hospital for two weeks without pay - day and night in alternating shifts. This was the only reason why the operation was possible at that time. Most doctors and nurses who work in Uganda's public hospitals cannot make a living from their salary, which is why they also work in private clinics. This explains why cancer surgery in Uganda does not run as smoothly as it does in our country.

What happened to the man?

There are no rehabilitation clinics in Uganda, so he was discharged a few days after the operation. For someone from the countryside the question then arises: How do you get home from the hospital? The median income in Uganda is 55,000 shillings a month, the equivalent of about 25 euros. The transport from Kampala to the countryside, let's say 400 kilometres in distance, costs about 30,000 shillings, which is an average monthly income. Many patients are therefore dependent on help. Thus, complete strangers at the hospital give money to such patients. That sounds romantic now, but it also has a downside: Because these kinds of moral obligations are also the background to what we denounce as corruption. After all, the money has to come from somewhere. If there is mass poverty, there is also corruption - not because people are bad, but on the contrary: because access to public resources is the most important access to resources of all.
How all this is intertwined in the health sector was not obvious to me before. That is perhaps the most important reason for this form of research. I would not have to fly to Kampala for expert interviews. What I'm looking for there are "planned" irritations. In this way I discover issues and connections of which I knew little before, but which are important.

How will you continue your work now?

After collecting the material in Uganda, there is a phase of distancing. You discover certain things only when you look at the material again later, also because you have read other things and talked to others in the meantime. I started dealing with Uganda 20 years ago, and the recordings of that time are still full of useful information. I will now write an essay on Uganda and one on colonial social policy. The manuscripts will be ready by summer. But our research in project B09 also has a historical dimension. We want to record and analyse the ups and downs of social policies in six African countries. Then we hold the analyses next to each other. Are there similarities and differences? What happened at the same time, what happened in different phases and why? What were the external influences? Were there similar or contradictory influences? These are the questions that we will clarify in the first CRC funding phase. But we wanted to use the mapping to find out what developments there are in social policy in Africa and what questions arise from them that we can deal with in the second phase of the CRC.


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

Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
Dr. Johanna Kuhlmann
In an interview Johanna Kuhlmann, who moved from TU Braunschweig to the CRC 1342, explains why social policy combines the small things with the big picture and why it appeals to her to discover something new in the familiar.

You're a political scientist. When did you know this was the right job for you?

At least not when I started studying. I studied political science and German language and literature and at the beginning I had no concrete idea of what I wanted to become. Journalism was an idea, but that was very vague. I then did several internships related to political science and German literature.

What exactly?

I have worked in a ministry and with a member of the Bundestag, but also in a literature research institute. I knew I wanted to work in political science when I had my first job as a student assistant at university.

That was still in Münster, right?

Yes, I really liked that, because my professor at the time directly involved the student assistants in his research. I was involved in many discussions and could participate in research. I quickly got a comprehensive insight. So I thought: This mitght be it.

What are you interested in social policy?

When I started studying social policy, I was particularly interested in strategic aspects, specifically: Why do political actors cut social benefits that are essential for many people voting fir them? That was a few years after the Agenda 2010 reforms. My dissertation then focused more on the content dimension of social policy, i.e. how exactly does the provision of social policy services actually change? And how can this be explained - beyond strategic aspects? Even if social policy is incredibly small-scale and one can deal for a long time with paragraphs of individual social laws: Changes in social policy always make statements about the basic principles of social coexistence and about the question of what role the state is prepared to take in providing welfare for citizens.

Why did you swap your post-doc position in Braunschweig for your new position in the CRC?

Because I was very interested in the conceptual design of the CRC as a whole and the project in which I am now working. The project aims to bundle the results of the other case study centred projects and to explain the causal mechanisms that lead to the dissemination of social policy. In this way, an independent theoretical contribution is to be made. That's what attracted me. I am not a pure theorist and have also worked empirically during my doctoral thesis. But I do have a "weakness" for theoretical questions. I have also focused on European welfare states so far. One starting point of the CRC is: We know a great deal about OECD welfare systems, but far less about other welfare systems. That's a lot like me.

And you didn't find that discouraging, but appealing?

Absolutely. That's what scientific work is all about, namely uncovering blind spots. I am familiar with the fundamental debates and theoretical points of reference of the CRC, which will initially be the focus of my work in the project. But the social policies of many non-OECD countries, especially in detail, are new territory for me. Because in our project, which has no empirical element of its own, we will look a lot into the other projects, I expect a lot from it.


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