News from Project B02

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

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

Dr Teresa Huhle
Dr Teresa Huhle
Teresa Huhle has searched Montevideo's libraries and archives to find out which international influences and relationships have influenced the development of Uruguay's health policy.

Teresa, you were on the road for your project in the spring. Where have you been exactly?

I was in Uruguay for eight weeks, more precisely in the capital Montevideo. My work on the Uruguay case study will take a total of four months of archival work - so this trip was the first half. But two years ago, before the CRC started, I had already been there and made my first explorations, so I was able to start right away this time.

Which archives did you look at?

I mainly worked in the National Library. There is also archive material there, but I mainly worked with old journals. There are also inheritances, old maps, photos ... But in the end I spent most of my time with journals.

Are these scientific journals?

Yes, scientific or government journals that are essential for my work on the development of health care in Uruguay. The Ministry of Health was founded there in 1932, but there had been two important government institutions before that: The Asistencia Pública Nacional and the Consejo Nacional de Higiene. Both institutions had their own journal, which I evaluate. Within the framework of the CRC, we are also investigating transnational influences on national social policy, and there is a lot about this in the journal. For example, it deals with conferences and exploratory trips by high-ranking representatives of these institutions.

What period are you looking at?

During this visit, I decided to take a look at the complete volumes of the journal of the Consejo Nacional de Higiene, i.e. 1906 to 1931, in order to understand how the institution had changed.

That's 26 years. How extensive are they?

The journal was published monthly, with a total of about 800 to 1,000 pages per year.

Were you able to browse through all of them?

In the beginning, I tested on the first volume whether it was possible and it turned out that I could actually look through the magazine completely in a decent amount of time. What was interesting for me, I photographed and made notes about it. To leave out the notes is fatal, because you end up with a few thousand photos on your computer and you don't know what they are. That's why I was relatively disciplined. I have bibliographed every photographed text directly and ideally wrote down three sentences about it.

What did you find in the 300 or so issues of the journal?

I looked for international influences and various international and transnational networks in which the actors and institutions were embedded and implemented when reforms were implemented. That is why, for example, I looked for all international conferences with Uruguayan participation. The material was very diverse. Sometimes it just says that someone from Uruguay was attending but other times there are long reports in which the Uruguayan delegate summarised and wrote exactly what he learned at the conference.

So these are certain input factors - do you also control the output? Like: Did these influences have any effect on policy?

My long-term goal is to be able to determine this selectively. At the moment I find it very difficult to distinguish between rhetoric and actual influence. There are currently not many places where I would commit myself to saying: "This conference, this trip to Europe or this visit to Argentina has ensured that Uruguay has introduced this particular law". This is not so easy methodically, but it would certainly be the next step.

How do you analyse your gathered material now?

At the moment, I am compiling what kind of connections, networks and forms of exchange existed. I also look at how the Uruguayan reformers reflected on their own actions, such as the assessment: "I was in Holland, I was shown the following, but that's not something we can do". But there is also the opposite verdict: "I think that is exactly what we have to implement now". Whether and how they then did that is another question, but it is nice to see that these international exchange processes are explicitly addressed in the sources.

Which countries and international organisations have had the greatest influence on Uruguay's health policy?

International congresses were very important, both in Europe and in the Americas.

At universities?

No, these were, for example, the "International Congresses on Hygiene and Demography". Since the middle of the 19th century, these have taken place in Europe with several hundred participants each - they were the most important congresses worldwide for all questions of hygiene and public health. Other international medical congresses related to public health, such as tuberculosis congresses or international congresses on sexually transmitted diseases, were also important. In the 1920s, the League of Nations became relatively important as an international forum, as the health organisation of the League of Nations organised international exchange trips. As far as individual countries are concerned, for example, there was a very close exchange with Argentina.

Was Argentina a role model or was Uruguay an equal partner?

Geopolitically, Uruguay was the small buffer state between the two great powers Argentina and Brazil. But in exchange for health policy reforms, Uruguay was definitely at eye level.
Were there other countries that were important?
Yes, Brazil, and in Europe France played a special role, because there was a long tradition that Uruguayan doctors completed their training or parts of it in France.

It is surprising that it was not Spain ...

France was the great cultural role model for the Uruguayan elite, and in medicine in particular. As early as the middle of the 19th century, Uruguayan physicians - financed by the state - went to Paris. These doctors all knew French, as did the politicians. There are also medical books that were only published in French. That is quite remarkable. That's why France plays an important role in this health sector.

What else were important points on your trip?

There are other libraries that are important to me, but not well catalogued. So you have to know what you can find there and consult with the librarians. In order to get this information in advance, I contacted colleagues in Montevideo, especially from the history of medicine.

What happens now with your work and your entire project?

In 2019, all members of the project including the director Delia González de Reufels are on the road a lot and come back with a lot of material from archives and libraries as well as new ideas. We also have a new team member: Simon Gerards Iglesias, who is now going on archive trips. I am currently working on a lecture and will continue my research in the United States in August. In March 2020, I will travel to Uruguay again. This spring I still had the luxury to know: I will come back again. But next year things will get serious: I'll have to think about exactly what I'll need from there beforehand.


Contact:
Dr. Teresa Huhle
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Sommerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57062
E-Mail: teresa.huhle@uni-bremen.de

Dr. Teresa Huhle
Dr. Teresa Huhle
Teresa Huhle on her search for clues, exciting conversations arising in archives, and her role in project B02.


What would you have become if you hadn't become a scientist?

When I started studying regional sciences Latin America in Cologne, I had two things in mind: to become either a journalist or to work for international organisations in the field of human rights or development assistance. However, these were no concrete plans, only vague ideas.

Why did you become a historian then?

From the first essay on, I enjoyed my studies, especially history - my other subjects were political science and Spanish. There were two phases in particular during which I realised that I would like to work as a historian: an internship in northern Spain and later my diploma thesis. The internship was about the victims of the Spanish Civil War. On the one hand I did archive research and looked through death records; on the other hand, I conducted interviews with people who could remember where there were anonymous mass graves. In this internship I was able to get to know historical research methods. Later I wrote my diploma thesis about the American participation in the Spanish Civil War. I was in San Francisco and New York for quite a while, where I worked in an archive on trade unions and other US left-wing movements. That was a great experience! It was that time when it became clear that I wanted to continue this kind of work.

What do you like about studying files and other documents?

I like the lonely side of archival work, the focused reading and discovery of documents. At the same time, archives are also places where a great many people from different regions meet and where exciting conversations arise.

Your main focus as a historian is Latin America. Why this region?

Even before my studies I had a great interest in Latin America and I had hoped that the study would give me many opportunities to travel there. After my detours into Spanish and American history, I wanted to work on Latin America during my doctoral thesis. In Bremen I had the chance to do my doctorate on the history of Colombia and to also look at connections to the USA. During my research trips to Colombia, I found the exchange with local colleagues very inspiring. The culture of science is different; the universities are more politicised than I knew it from Germany.

What is your role in the CRC?

I am working on a project in which we investigate the genesis of social policy in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. The project has four work packages, one of which I will cover: I look at the early state-run social policy of Uruguay, from the late 19th century to the 1930s. I ask in particular how, why and with which effects the government has been involved in the areas of health and work - and of which other organisations it has taken over these tasks: namely the Church and philanthropy.

I am also working on a second work package to examine role the International Labour Organisation ILO in the formation process of social policy in the three countries.

How will you conduct your research?

I can't draw on interviews with contemporary witnesses during this period; thus, as a historian I will focus on archive work. We investigate transnational factors, e.g. the question: Who were Uruguayan physicians in contact with in other countries and international organisations? For me, this means a very international archive work. I will travel to Uruguay, but also to European archives, the ILO archive in Geneva and also to the USA. At the beginning it is about identifying who the central actors were, with whom they were in contact with and how the exchange of knowledge took place. In some cases there are hints I can follow up, but in others the field is completely unknown. I have surprise myself with the results of my archive visits.

When do you expect first results?

I'm going on extensive expeditions this year. Therefore, I will probably not have any results ready for beeing peer-reviewed until next year. But I hope to be able to bring preliminary results at presentation level from every trip.

 

Teresa Huhle at a glance:
Teresa Huhle is a research fellow at the Institute of History at the University of Bremen. In project B02, led by Delia González de Reufels, Huhle examines the development of early public social policy in Uruguay.

In 2015, Teresa Huhle received her doctorate at the University of Bremen for her thesis "Population, Fertility and Family Planning in Colombia during the Cold War: A Transnational History of Knowledge". Previously, Huhle had studied Latin American Regional Sciences at the University of Cologne, specialising in Iberian and Latin American History, Anglo-American History, Political Science and Spanish.


Contact:
Dr. Teresa Huhle
CRC 1342: Global Dynamics of Social Policy
Mary-Sommerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-57062
E-Mail: teresa.huhle@uni-bremen.de