News from Project B02


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

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

Project B02 has a new member: Mónika Contreras Saiz. In an interview, she talks about her professional background and why she is working on such diverse topics as social housing and German police assistance in Latin America.

New member of project B02

Dr. Mónika Contreras SaizFor a couple of weeks now, Mónika Contreras Saiz is working as a researcher in project B02 "Emergence, Expansion, and Transformation of the Welfare State in the Cono Sur in Exchange with (Southern) Europe (1850–1990)". About time to introduce her.

Dear Mónika, you have recently joined project B02 - welcome! Which are your main topics of research at the moment?

Mónika Contreras Saiz: I work on the emergence and development of housing policy in Chile using the case study of police officers. From a micro-historical perspective, I analyse the provision of social housing and the relationship between this state housing policy for a specific population group and a broader national social policy.

Poster contest: Exhibition on affordable housing (From: Revista de La Habitación. Organo del Consejo Superior y de los Consejos Departamentales de Habitaciones Obreras. Ano II, Santiago, Setiembre de 1922, N. 21, S. 613)Like the health and occupational health and safety policies that we examine in project B02, Chilean social housing policy has received regional and European impulses that we are also investigating. Another aspect of social housing policy to be considered is its relationship with public health and safety policy, for example as part of the solution to a serious public health problem such as child mortality. In Chile at the beginning of the 20th century, more than half of the children under five years of age died from poorer social classes. The provision of hygienic housing and its regulation would help to solve this problem. In terms of internal security, the housing problem was linked to a moral problem that affected security and even the economy. It was argued that the lack of adequate housing led to alcoholism ("A good house keeps the worker away from the tavern" - quote from a recommendation for housing for Chilean workers in 1904), misery and immorality, and thus to criminal behaviour and disorder, with fatal consequences not only for public order but also for economic development.

One thing that stands out on your CV is that you have two degrees. First, you earned a diploma in history at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá. From 2005 to 2007, you completed a Master's degree in Ancient American Studies and History at the FU. What was the reason for you to start a second degree course after your diploma?

Mónika Contreras Saiz: It is a long story, but I try to present it in a compact way: I graduated in Colombia in 2003 and wanted to do a Master's in Political Science, Anthropology, History or Communication Studies in Germany. In Colombia, a German professor who worked at my university (Prof. Dr. Gisela Cramer) advised me and explained that there were no Master's degrees in Germany at that time. However, the Bologna Process had already been set in motion, which began to change the entire study system in Germany. It would therefore be likely that there would already be a number of new Master's programmes when the planned start of studies (then scheduled for the summer of 2005) took place.

I had applied for a DAAD Colfuturo Scholarship and finally came to Germany in winter 2004. When I learned German, I was supposed to decide which Master's programme to start. The summer semester of 2005 was slowly approaching and the only Master's programme that came into question for me did not begin until October 2005. At the same time, I had the obligation to begin my studies in April 2005. Because of this situation, I decided to take the second part of a Magister programme, which was equivalent to a Master's degree (two years of attending seminars and preparing the final thesis). In this sense, for me, the Magister was a kind of further education and less a second degree course. Later I had the opportunity to switch to the Master's programme, but I was very satisfied with the Magister programme and decided to stay enrolled. So I'm one of the last generations to receive the title Magister or Magistra Artium in Germany.

After your doctorate you taught and researched at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the FU Berlin. What were your main focuses?

Mónika Contreras Saiz: In the first phase, my focus was on the colonization history of Latin America from a transnational and global perspective and on interethnic relations in border areas and economic spaces as emerging coexistence spaces. In the second phase, I concentrated particularly on historical research on the culture of memory in Latin America and the use of digital methods in historical research. In my research, I have thus dealt with the establishment and maintenance of security in the context of state-building processes in Latin America, German police assistance for Latin American police officers, and the communication of history through entertainment media in Latin America.

Although all these research areas sound very different, they are somehow connected to each other and have also opened up research opportunities for me in new areas. For example, the study of relations between the state and indigenous groups led me to study police forces. The study of police forces in Latin America, in turn, led me to the topic of social housing policy. And on top of that, there are also beautiful coincidences in work and life: in 2011, for example, I took part in an event on memory and since then this topic has always accompanied me and offered me many new research opportunities.

More information on project B02: Emergence, Expansion, and Transformation of the Welfare State in the Cono Sur in Exchange with (Southern) Europe (1850–1990)

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

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Picture 1: private.
Picture 2: Poster contest: Exhibition on affordable housing (From: Revista de La Habitación. Organo del Consejo Superior y de los Consejos Departamentales de Habitaciones Obreras. Año II, Santiago, Setiembre de 1922, N. 21, S. 613)


Contact:
Dr. Mónika Contreras Saiz
Dr. Mónika Contreras Saiz
Dr. Mónika Contreras Saiz
For a couple of weeks now, Mónika Contreras Saiz is working as a researcher in project B02 "Emergence, Expansion, and Transformation of the Welfare State in the Cono Sur in Exchange with (Southern) Europe (1850–1990)". About time to introduce her.

Dear Mónika, you have recently joined project B02 - welcome! Which are your main topics of research at the moment?

Mónika Contreras Saiz: I work on the emergence and development of housing policy in Chile using the case study of police officers. From a micro-historical perspective, I analyse the provision of social housing and the relationship between this state housing policy for a specific population group and a broader national social policy.

Poster contest: Exhibition on affordable housing (From: Revista de La Habitación. Organo del Consejo Superior y de los Consejos Departamentales de Habitaciones Obreras. Ano II, Santiago, Setiembre de 1922, N. 21, S. 613)Like the health and occupational health and safety policies that we examine in project B02, Chilean social housing policy has received regional and European impulses that we are also investigating. Another aspect of social housing policy to be considered is its relationship with public health and safety policy, for example as part of the solution to a serious public health problem such as child mortality. In Chile at the beginning of the 20th century, more than half of the children under five years of age died from poorer social classes. The provision of hygienic housing and its regulation would help to solve this problem. In terms of internal security, the housing problem was linked to a moral problem that affected security and even the economy. It was argued that the lack of adequate housing led to alcoholism ("A good house keeps the worker away from the tavern" - quote from a recommendation for housing for Chilean workers in 1904), misery and immorality, and thus to criminal behaviour and disorder, with fatal consequences not only for public order but also for economic development.

One thing that stands out on your CV is that you have two degrees. First, you earned a diploma in history at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá. From 2005 to 2007, you completed a Master's degree in Ancient American Studies and History at the FU. What was the reason for you to start a second degree course after your diploma?

Mónika Contreras Saiz: It is a long story, but I try to present it in a compact way: I graduated in Colombia in 2003 and wanted to do a Master's in Political Science, Anthropology, History or Communication Studies in Germany. In Colombia, a German professor who worked at my university (Prof. Dr. Gisela Cramer) advised me and explained that there were no Master's degrees in Germany at that time. However, the Bologna Process had already been set in motion, which began to change the entire study system in Germany. It would therefore be likely that there would already be a number of new Master's programmes when the planned start of studies (then scheduled for the summer of 2005) took place.

I had applied for a DAAD Colfuturo Scholarship and finally came to Germany in winter 2004. When I learned German, I was supposed to decide which Master's programme to start. The summer semester of 2005 was slowly approaching and the only Master's programme that came into question for me did not begin until October 2005. At the same time, I had the obligation to begin my studies in April 2005. Because of this situation, I decided to take the second part of a Magister programme, which was equivalent to a Master's degree (two years of attending seminars and preparing the final thesis). In this sense, for me, the Magister was a kind of further education and less a second degree course. Later I had the opportunity to switch to the Master's programme, but I was very satisfied with the Magister programme and decided to stay enrolled. So I'm one of the last generations to receive the title Magister or Magistra Artium in Germany.

After your doctorate you taught and researched at the Institute for Latin American Studies at the FU Berlin. What were your main focuses?

Mónika Contreras Saiz: In the first phase, my focus was on the colonization history of Latin America from a transnational and global perspective and on interethnic relations in border areas and economic spaces as emerging coexistence spaces. In the second phase, I concentrated particularly on historical research on the culture of memory in Latin America and the use of digital methods in historical research. In my research, I have thus dealt with the establishment and maintenance of security in the context of state-building processes in Latin America, German police assistance for Latin American police officers, and the communication of history through entertainment media in Latin America.

Although all these research areas sound very different, they are somehow connected to each other and have also opened up research opportunities for me in new areas. For example, the study of relations between the state and indigenous groups led me to study police forces. The study of police forces in Latin America, in turn, led me to the topic of social housing policy. And on top of that, there are also beautiful coincidences in work and life: in 2011, for example, I took part in an event on memory and since then this topic has always accompanied me and offered me many new research opportunities.

More information on project B02: Emergence, Expansion, and Transformation of the Welfare State in the Cono Sur in Exchange with (Southern) Europe (1850–1990)

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Picture 1: private.
Picture 2: Poster contest: Exhibition on affordable housing (From: Revista de La Habitación. Organo del Consejo Superior y de los Consejos Departamentales de Habitaciones Obreras. Año II, Santiago, Setiembre de 1922, N. 21, S. 613)


Contact:
Dr. Mónika Contreras Saiz
Simon Gerards Iglesias in Berlin
Simon Gerards Iglesias in Berlin
The online lecture marked the end of his scholarship for a research stay in Berlin.

This year Simon Gerards Iglesias had received a scholarship from the Ibero-American Institute (IAI) of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation for a research stay as a visiting scholar in Berlin. On 16 June 2020, he concluded his scholarship with a lecture on his dissertation project, which he is working on in project B02. In his historical research, Gerards Iglesias examines the relations between the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Argentina in the period 1919 to 1943 from a transnational perspective. In addition to the research staff of the Ibero-American Institute, a number of scholars from Latin America participated in the colloquium lecture, which, due to Corona, had to take place as a video conference.


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 (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. 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