Research Groups

Research Groups aim at a long term interdisciplinary collaboration. They provide the frame in which scholars from various disciplines work together on a broader research theme. For an extended time, generally one year, they work and live at the ZiF.

List of all Research Groups

Resident Research Groups

Forschungsgruppe

Understanding Southern Welfare. Ideational and historical foundations of social policies in Brazil, India, China and South Africa

2018

The twentieth century was a century of expanding social policy and the rise of the 'welfare state'. During that century, Western nation states turned into 'democratic welfare capitalism' (T.H. Marshall), with social expenditures reaching 20-35% of GDP, and coverage of the population by social security provisions verging towards 100%. In the twenty-first century, the countries of the global South play an increasingly important role in terms of population growth, their share in the global economy, and potential or real global political power. Which route have Southern countries been taking regarding the 'social' side of society?

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Forschungsgruppe

In Search of the Global Labour Market - Actors, Structures and Policies

2017/2018

Globalisation is on everybody's lips. Like few others this catchword epitomises the dynamic changes of present times, not least with regard to labour markets. Never before have such a large number of people emigrated in the hope of better working and living conditions. Never before were so many flight miles spent on business travel. For the highly qualified elites globalisation appears as a cornucopia of opportunities. In less privileged sectors of the labour market, above all in industry, employers refer to the 'pressure of globalisation' to justify the lowering of standards and wages or the shifting of jobs abroad.

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Research Groups in Preparation

Forschungsgruppe

'Felix Culpa'? Guilt as Culturally Productive Force

2018/2019

During the last decades, it has become more common to appeal to people's sense of guilt regarding current social problems such as economic exploitation or environmental protection. Besides the political instrumentalization, guilt and shame have also been discovered as cultural forces which are able to foster and expedite moral revolutions, for instance. But the development of political discourse to overlap and become indistinguishable with discourses of guilt has also led to a critical stressing of the destructive consequences if collective guilt becomes a leading notion within a culture. In contrast to current research approaches, the main focus of this research group does not lie in the damaging impacts of guilt, of which a person wants to break free or which he or she tries to overcome as quickly as possible.

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Research Groups in Postprocessing

Forschungsgruppe

Kinship and Politics - Rethinking a Conceptual Split and its Epistemic Implications in the Social Sciences

2016/2017

For a long time the decline of kinship in the course of Western history seemed so certain that there was little interest in research on this topic outside the study of "traditional" societies in anthropology and history. Central to Western self-understanding in the twenty-first century is that kinship plays no role in politics. This separation has a long genealogy and enormous consequences for research and policy-making. Particularly in the domain of modern politics the presence of kinship was (and is) seen as something to be exorcised in order to establish rational administrative systems, mobilise colonial populations and even destroy terrorist infrastructures. It is behind distinctions between modern and traditional, between Western and "Other" societies.

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