XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology, Sociology on the move, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 2010

Menu:

RC homepage

 

Research Committee on
Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy RC19

Programme Coordinators
Sheila Shaver, University of New South Wales, Australia, sshaver@bigpond.net.au and Siri Hettige, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, sthetti@webmail.cmb.ac.lk

Congress Programme

 

Sessions descriptions


Session 1: Sociology and the promise of transformative social policy. Part I
Organizer: Jìmí O. Adésínà, Rhodes University, South Africa, J.Adesina@ru.ac.za
The current crisis of neoliberal capitalism requires us to rethink Social Policy beyond the conventional ‘welfare state regime’ paradigm and the linkages between Sociology and Social Policy. Central to this is the need to re-read the ‘classical’ literature on Social Policy, categories such as ‘social citizenship’, and the vision behind the variety of social policy instruments. In the context in which ‘social protection’ (and non-contributory ‘cash transfer’ in the developing countries) has dominated the policy and research agenda such return to the original visions of Social Policy is important for the sociological project of advancing knowledge and policy choices. For instance, two of Esping-Andersen’s original three welfare state regimes have their origins in the context of ‘catch-up’ and assumptions of full employment rather than simply the concern with protection against market failure—a vision shared in several African, Asian, European, and Latin American contexts. TH Marshall’s vision of citizenship is more expansive that the conventional idea of ‘social citizenship.’ From Richard Titmuss to Gunnar Myrdal social research was not simply about ‘evidence-based’ policy but a visionary project of the ‘good society’; ‘social engineering’ was driven by normative vision. In all these contexts, social policy was conceived as transformative of initial conditions of economic development and social relations. The last 25 years witnessed the ascendance of a brand of economic thinking that is widely disreputable for its aversion for social complexity, with Sociology on the retreat. The relevance of expansive sociological imagination and rethinking social policy in the post-neoliberal global environment require a return to the wider vision of social policy. This, we argue, is the promise of a transformative approach to Social Policy.
For this session we invite papers that address the issues raised above, organised around one or more of the following:

Session format: Korpi’s Rules. Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010

Session 2: Sociology and the promise of transformative social policy. Part II
Organizer: Jìmí O. Adésínà, Rhodes University, South Africa, J.Adesina@ru.ac.za
Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010

Session 3: The global financial crisis and its impact on social policy
Organizer: Siri Hettige, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, sthetti@webmail.cmb.ac.lk
Neo-liberal economic reforms over the last three decades have led to an unprecedented restructuring of national economies around the world reinforcing a tendency towards greater global integration and inter-dependence. When the current financial crisis hit the leading industrial economies, it was only natural for the crisis to spread across the world and affect the economies of the developed and developing world alike. On the other hand, not all the countries affected by the crisis are equally placed in terms of their capacity to deal with its effects such as collapse of domestic industries, loss of jobs and livelihoods, rising unemployment, homelessness, poverty, etc. Moreover, not all countries have similar social protection systems in place for the families and individuals adversely affected.  Given the far reaching implications of the global financial crisis for social policy, it is only timely that we take stock of what is happening around the world in terms of how the crisis and its attendant consequences play out in different national contexts in both the developed and the developing world. This session will provide an opportunity for researchers from different parts of the world to present papers dealing with the impact of the global economic crisis on social policy and social protection on global, regional and national levels. On a global level, it might be interesting to look at how  global institutions like the World Bank and the WTO deal with social policy issues arising from the crisis, and more specifically what their prescriptions for the developing world are. On a regional level, one can look at how a regional bloc like the EU deals with social policy issues in the context of a deep economic crisis. Given the continuing or even increasing significance of the nation state as a political community, it is highly relevant to look at the country level experiences and responses.
Session format: Papers and discussion

Session 4: New middle class, new welfare state?
Organizer: Monique Kremer, Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy,
Netherlands, kremer@wrr.nl
The rise and support of the middle classes is assumed vital for the origins and sustainability of modern welfare states in Western societies. Due to economic growth, middle classes have emerged around the world, especially in Asia, but also in Africa and Latin America. This ‘new’ middle class, however, may also have ‘new’ values. Whereas in post-war Europe the middle classes traditionally supported the welfare state, the new middle class may be different. Globalization-related trends, such as migration and liberalization, may reduce welfare state support. Whereas welfare state theory stresses the necessity of identification within the (nation) state, markets and migration offer the new middle class the possibility of exit. Perhaps it is no longer in their self-interest to support public state organized systems. On the other hand, in many countries around the world, new welfare interventions do take place. What is the role of the middle class in these social politics? Traditional middle classes in the Western world – in Europe and the US- are also changing. Due to labour market flexibility, among other things, they have become more fragile. Such weakening of the middle class may also weaken welfare states. But fragile middle classes may also be a result of fragile welfare states.  In short; do we see a new middle class in the countries around the world, and what are its characteristics and its meaning for social policy, solidarity and social politics? Are (Western) historical trajectories still valid in a globalizing world? This session welcomes papers about empirical and theoretical issues of the new middle class across the world, especially when they are related to issues concerning welfare states, solidarity and social politics.
Session format: Korpi’s Rules. Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010

Session 5: Social Europe, European integration and EU enlargement
Organizer:
Julia S. O’Connor, University of Ulster, UK, js.oconnor@ulster.ac.uk
‘Social Europe’ and ‘European Integration’ are contested concepts  and were so even in the context of  a European Union of 15 member states.  This session is directed to exploring the boundaries of these concepts by considering the opportunities and challenges for employment and social policy structures associated with the 2004 and 2007 enlargements and foreseeable enlargements.   Papers are sought on social, employment or equal opportunities policy that link policy developments in one or more of these countries with EU level developments and that explore the implications for Social Europe.  The focus may be primarily on the opportunities and challenges associated with enlargement at the EU level or at the country level but must link both levels.   Papers should combine theoretical innovation with empirical analysis.  Abstracts should outline the theoretical and empirical approaches to be adopted, provide a synthesis of the issues to be addressed in the paper and the hypothesis underlying it and the structure of the paper.
Session format: Papers with discussant

Session 6: Non-standard employment: Experiences and paradigms
Organizer: Max Koch, Lund University, Swden, max.koch@soch.lu.se
The session aims to comparatively analyze the various socio-economic, political and cultural processes that affect the quality of work, employment and life as reflected in destandardization processes of the employment relations and social structures that were predominant after World War II. While employment in the developed countries was becoming increasingly standardized as Fordist growth strategies became established, many developing countries followed catch-up strategies, for example, by applying Industrial Import Substitution thereby creating industrial jobs in the formal employment sector. The spatial reorganization of production processes of recent decades has combined developed and developing regions in novel ways, often under the umbrella of one transnational corporation. New jobs and types of employment have emerged that do not take the form of standard employment: that is, full-time, permanent, on-site and waged employment. Non-standard workers are engaged in a variety of occupations, work different hours, and have diverse work experience and education. Some non-standard employment situations are well-paid and secure; others are characterized by elements of precariousness. Casual forms of labour and homework, in particular among women, regain importance within transnational production networks.

The session calls for theoretical and empirical research papers with regard to the increasing diversity of contemporary employment situations and the manifold ways in which these are perceived. Papers should address at least one of the following four objectives:

Emphasis will be placed on positive synergy scenarios between economic and productivity growth, and the quality of work, employment and life, and on the definition of the socio-economic, political and cultural conditions for the replication of such scenarios across countries. The session welcomes papers from all parts of the world and from different theoretical perspectives with a scope that is intended to be as multi-disciplinary, varied, and relevant to policy as possible.
Session format: Presented papers with shared discussion.

Session 7: Care in a globalising world: Markets and migration
Organizers: Deborah Brennan, University of New South Wales, Australia, d.brennan@unsw.edu.au and Anneli Antonnen, University of Tampere, Finland Anneli.Anttonen@uta.fi
Increased migration and the ever-growing emphasis on markets as instruments of public policy are reshaping the provision of formal and informal care in many countries and bringing new analytical issues to the fore. This session provides an opportunity to consider the ways in which new patterns of migration are shaping child care, elder care and social care in different parts of the world. It will also enable consideration of the impact of market mechanisms in relation to both migration and care). In keeping with the aims of Social Politics, the organisers encourage papers that explore the gendered impacts of such transformations. We welcome papers from a range of theoretical perspectives and from authors around the world. This session is sponsored by Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society.
Session format: Workshop with short presentations. (Papers will be distributed in advance and assumed to be read.) Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010

Session 8: Public health care policies on the move
Organizer: Ana M. Guillén, University of Oviedo, Spain, aguillen@uniovi.es and
Emmanuele Pavolini , University of Macerata, Italy, e.pavolini@unimc.it
The last decades have witnessed increasing attention to health care as part of overall welfare systems. On one side, growing awareness has evoked concerns about the sustainability of health expenditure over the medium and longer term; on the other, it has brought increased demands to address health inequalities and improve access to services. The present economic crisis is exacerbating these tensions. In many countries a mix of policies has been discussed.
 In the present session we will focus mainly on three such policies: 1) different forms of privatization (from financing to provision); 2) the introduction of new public management tools in organizing the provision (managerialism, quasi-markets, competition, users’ choice, etc.); 3) rescaling the government level of health care administration and provision (often following a decentralization path but in some cases processes of re-centralization).
The session will examine the outcomes, real or rhetorical, of such policy innovations for the overall functioning of public health care systems, and their effects on power relations among national and sub-national governments, public and private providers and professionals, managers and citizens.  The session encourages papers from all parts of the world.
Session format: Korpi’s Rules. Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010

Session 9: How do changing healthcare systems affect access and utilization, health outcomes and satisfaction?
Organizer: Jürgen Kohl,  Heidelberg University, Germany, Juergen.kohl@soziologie.uni-heidelberg.de and Claus Wendt, University of Mannheim, Germany, claus.wendt@mzes.uni-mannheim.de
Healthcare systems experience rapid changes. In OECD countries, cost containment has become a major issue and, with the purported aim to increase efficiency, in many healthcare systems market mechanisms have been implemented. In other world regions, countries still focus on the improvement of coverage and access. The comparative analysis of healthcare systems has made considerable progress in recent years, and we have gained a better understanding of modes of governance and institutional structures in the field of healthcare across countries. What is still missing, however, are studies focusing on the consequences of changing institutional structures of healthcare systems regarding inequalities, exclusion and, more generally, the living conditions associated with health.

We therefore invite papers analysing access to healthcare providers and inequalities in health service utilization; investigating how changing healthcare institutions affect population health and health inequalities; and focusing on people’s satisfaction with the health system in general and healthcare provision in particular. Since we are interested in the impact of different institutional structures, cross-country comparisons are particularly welcome; however, case studies that focus on the topics of this session are also appreciated. Furthermore, we would like to include papers that are linking the macro and the micro level, for instance, by investigating the effects of healthcare systems on health outcomes for different social groups.
Session format: Korpi’s Rules. Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010

Session 10: Old and new tensions related to care
Organizer: Birgit Pfau-Effinger,University of Hamburg, Germany, pfau-effinger@sozialwiss.uni-hamburg.de
In this session, tensions that are related to childcare and elderly care in the first decade of the 21st century will be analyzed and discussed.

While until the late 20th century, care was mainly organized within the family, in many societies rapid change has since taken place. Due to the increase in labor force participation rates of women and a change in family structures, in many countries, people have tried to find new solutions to manage the care deficit that has emerged. In part, welfare states have extended financial support and public provision in the field of childcare and elderly care. However, in many countries, care is still to a substantial degree provided in private households, by informal, unpaid family care in the core family or the extended family, by paid family care in the context of leave schemes and cash-for-care schemes, and to a substantial degree also by paid employment of migrants in private households. Moreover, care work is still strongly gendered. As a consequence, specific and in part new tensions are connected with care for children and elderly people. These relate, for example, to the ways in which the employment system and the family interact, to the pay and working conditions of care workers in the field of social services, the employment of migrants in precarious or undeclared work, and the situation of families of migrant care workers in their country of origin. Papers are invited from all over the world, with papers that include an international perspective especially welcome.
Session format:  Workshop with short paper presentations

Session 11: Aging and the politics of social policy
Organizer: Daniel Béland, University of Saskatchewan, Canada, daniel.beland@usask.ca and John Myles, University of Toronto, Canada
Since the 1970s, population aging has become an increasingly crucial issue in international social policy debates. Taking a political sociology perspective on this issue, this session focuses on the relationship between aging and the politics of social policy. Questions that could be raised in the papers include the relationship between demographic pressures and policy change, the nature of the political discourse about demographic aging, and actor mobilizations in the field of old age security. Contributions on issues such as pension reform and long-term care for the elderly are especially welcomed.
Session format: Papers and discussion

Session 12: Activation programs and the commodification and re-commodification of social categories
Organizer: Sara Helman, Ben Gurion University, Israel, sarith@bgu.ac.il
Activation policies and programs became during the late 1990s and the beginnings of the 2000s preferred policy solutions for different and variegated categories of people considered economically inactive. Initially conceived for the long term unemployed, activation programs are being extended to categories such as the disabled, solo mother's families, the unemployed and other groups receiving social support. This session aims at exploring the processes of adoption, translation and implementation of activation policies across different national contexts.
Session format: Papers and discussion.

Session 13: Comparing activation models and programs
Organizer: Sara Helman, Ben Gurion University, Israel, sarith@bgu.ac.il
Activation policies and programs became during the late 1990s and the beginnings of the 2000s preferred policy solutions for different and variegated categories of people considered economically inactive. Initially conceived for the long term unemployed, activation programs are being extended to categories such as the disabled, solo mother's families, the unemployed and other groups receiving social support. The session invites papers that compare models and programs in different national contexts, and the ways in which activation policy ideas and programs are translated and implemented in different national contexts. Papers may consider the ideational, political and institutional factors that led to the adoption of activation policies and programs as well as the ways in which the policies adopted redefine social contracts between citizens and the welfare state. How are the new social contracts formulated and are these new contracts drawn along ethnic, racial and gender lines?
Session format: Papers and discussion.

Session 14: Global social policy
Organizer: Meri Koivusalo, Finland, meri.koivusalo@thl.fi, Nicola Yeates, Open University, UK and Huck-ju Kwon, Sung Kyun Kwan University, Korea
The session on Global Social Policy invites papers analysing aspects of global social policy, including global and transnational aspects of social policies and studies on global social governance. It covers as well studies on impacts of globalisation on social policies and on policy space for social policies, including but not limited to implications of financial crisis. It further invites papers on social policies of global social and labour movements, social policies of global poverty reduction efforts as well as proposals for and analysis and assessment of new mechanisms for global social policy and governance.

The session is supported and organised by the Global Social Policy journal. We are prepared to explore avenues within our capacities for additional funds so as to support global participation and attendance to the session.
Format: Panel of papers with discussion  

Session 15: Poverty and inequality: Meanings, measures and strategies. Part I
Organizers: Peter Saunders, University Of New South Wales, Australia, p.saunders@unsw.edu.au, Dave Gordon, University of Bristol, UK, Dave.Gordon@bristol.ac.uk and Bjőrn Gustafsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, bjorn.gustafsson@socwork.gu.se
Issues of poverty and inequality remain at the forefront of public concern, even more so since the onset of recession in the wake of the global financial crisis. However, the degree of attention they attract from policy makers varies greatly across countries, as do the goals set as policy targets. Governments that have set policy targets have realized that these cannot be implemented without agreement on measurement and what this implies for assessing the impact of policy and other factors. Elsewhere, research provides a platform for advocacy activity that seeks to combat poverty and address inequality.
Poverty research has entered a new era in which previous reliance on low-income as a signpost of poverty is replaced by methods that connect more directly with the living standards actually experienced. Advances in inequality research are being driven by better data, particularly longitudinal data that allow the underlying dynamics to be identified and better understood. However, basic disagreements still exist about how best to measure poverty and inequality (which dimensions are most important?), what are the underlying causes, and which interventions are best suited to address them.
This session will provide an opportunity to review these issues in national and international (comparative) contexts drawing on the experience of both developed and developing countries, North and South. Papers that address any aspect of poverty and/or inequality by drawing on national and/or international data and experience are particularly welcome.
Format: Panel of papers with discussion  

Session 16: Poverty and inequality: Meanings, measures and strategies. Part II
Organizers: Peter Saunders, University Of New South Wales, Australia, p.saunders@unsw.edu.au, Dave Gordon, University of Bristol, UK, Dave.Gordon@bristol.ac.uk and Bjőrn Gustafsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, bjorn.gustafsson@socwork.gu.se

Session 17: Business meeting
followed by dinner

Session 18: Social policy and the labor market. Part I
Organizer: Tomas Korpi, Stockholm University, Sweden, tomas.korpi@sofi.su.se
The relationship between social policy and the labor market is one of the most hotly contested dimensions of social policy. The fear that public income support would undermine work incentives is for instance a concern dating back to the poor laws of old, and the institutional solution to this problem were the workhouses. These concerns still pervade public policies of income support today, both in the form of unemployment compensations and social assistance, with the institutional solutions being various forms of work tests or workfare. Similar issues are also evident in for instance family and retirement policies. The development and impact of public income support polices in relation to work is therefore a permanent concern for social policy research.

However, in addition to these long standing concerns, other links between social policy and the labor market have recently garnered increasing interest. Some of these links focus on the quality of labor supply rather than the quantity. There is thus an increasing interest in issues surrounding education, such as the skills and qualifications of the workforce in the knowledge society. Such concerns may also be evident in questions regarding workforce development policies, where adult education and activation policies are examined in much the same way as youth education. These issues may also be seen in an even broader perspective, where policies such as family and retirements policies are viewed with respect to their impact on relative labor force participation. These new concerns, sometimes labeled social investment, may of course also be related to the older debates, for instance when unemployment insurance is seen as a search subsidy providing unemployed an opportunity to search for employment that matches their qualifications.
Format: Panel of papers with discussion

Session 19: Social policy and the labor market. Part II
Organizer: Tomas Korpi, Stockholm University, Sweden, tomas.korpi@sofi.su.se
Format: Panel of papers with discussion

Session 20: (Re)theorising Social Policy
Organisers: Bob Deacon, University of Sheffield, UK, B.Deacon@sheffield.ac.uk, Alexandra Kaasch, University of Bremen, Germany and Paul Stubbs, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Global social policy studies the advice and influence of global actors on national social policies; the emerging supranational social polices of global redistribution, social regulation and social rights; and cross-border social policy-making processes and flows. The recent expansion of global social policy studies has tended to be more empirical, normative and descriptive with too little emphasis on theoretical underpinnings. Attempts have been made to theorise the field of study through diverse explicit and implicit theoretical standpoints based, inter alia, on a world society framework, an actor centred or global version of the power-resource model, global political economy, discourse analysis or post-colonial studies.

This panel of papers will address the theoretical aspects of global social policy. Papers will either focus directly on theoretical debates or report a new area of empirical research that is a case study for theorising. Papers should ideally address the trans-national social policy making process in the emerging policy spaces that global interconnectedness opens up. A focus on the discourses of social policy and their flow and translation across borders is also encouraged. Papers which address global social policy themes through analytical frameworks which have tended to be neglected or marginalised thus far are particularly welcome.
Format: papers assumed read but also presented for 10 minutes by authors with 10 minute prepared discussant comments and general discussion.

Korpi’s Rules
This format, regularly used at RC 19 meetings outside the ISA World Congress, has made RC19 meetings famous for their intellectual liveliness and seriousness. The rules are named for Walter Korpi, past president of RC 19:

It is assumed that all papers have been read in advance.  Thus, long summaries of the argument are avoided and the emphasis is on the discussion!
Korpi’s rules require that those who accept a place on the program make a commitment to completing and posting their paper in time for others to read it.  Equally, it expects those attending these sessions to come prepared by having read the papers to be discussed.
Note: Papers in this session should be read in advance. Papers will be available from 1 June 2010 at http://www.iffs.se/RC19-2010