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15.07.2024 - Sandra Plümer receives "Best Academic Publication Award" for her doctoral thesis

(Photo: University of Duisburg-Essen)

Earlier this week, Sandra Plümer received the "Best Academic Publication Award" for her dissertation on the topic of policy learning (accessible here).

The award is presented once a year by the NRW School of Governance at the University of Duisburg-Essen as a practice-orientated teaching and research unit and the consulting firm PD.

The award recognises outstanding academic work that deals with the topics of administrative action and modernisation, digitalisation and policy advice.

In his laudatory speech, Dr Ingo Caspari, Senior Managing Expert at PD, emphasised four characteristics of Sandra Plümer's doctoral thesis: internal and external validity, theoretical depth, practical relevance (according to Kurt Lewin: "nothing is as practical as a good theory") and comprehensibility.

According to Caspari, the doctoral thesis provides insights into whether and how politics and administration actually learn. This important question in times of transformational challenges not only concerns PD, but also all companies and stakeholders who support politics and administration in change processes. The work also shows how a government makes decisions in the context of major challenges. This includes complex stakeholder management as well as various communication strategies and instruments in order to remain capable of winning a majority. The work thus provides helpful insights for counselling approaches.

Sandra Plümer and the working group would like to thank the PD, in particular Ingo Caspari and Yvonne Balzer, as well as the NRW School of Governance for the award.

We are delighted that our academic work has also been well received in practice and can enrich counselling work in a very concrete way.

05.07.2024 - Sandra Plümer becomes Fellow at the NRW School of Governance at the University of Duisburg-Essen

(Photos: University of Duisburg-Essen)

Working group member and post-doctoral researcher Sandra Plümer was appointed a Fellow of the NRW School of Governance yesterday. The NRW School is a research centre at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The School emphasises the importance of practice-oriented teaching and research.

Together with Moritz Körner, Member of the European Parliament, and Dr Merve Schmitz-Vardar, Managing Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Integration and Migration Research (InZentIM), the three new Fellows were honoured by Prof. Dr Karl-Rudolf Korte, Director of the NRW School of Governance, in his laudatory speech.

Sandra Plümer and the NRW School will remain in dialogue, particularly on the topics of transformation and political change. The fellowship enables a more institutionalised and structured cooperation in the areas of research, teaching and knowledge transfer.

We congratulate Sandra Plümer on this honour and are delighted to be in close contact with the NRW School through our staff.

03.07.2024 - 10th International Community, Work & Family Conference 2025: Call for Papers

The submission of papers for the ICWF Conference 2025 is still possible until 15 July. Abstracts can be handed in for the main conference and the PhD workshop. A specific list of available topics as well as further requirements and information about the submission process can be found here.

The 10th International Community, Work & Family Conference 2025 will take place in Bielefeld from 25 March to 28 March 2025. Global dynamics, changes and challenges are going to be adressed by leading scholars and practitioners in the context of community, work and family.

The Organizing Committee is looking forward to your submissions!

02.07.2024 - Comparative Politics & Public Policy Lecture Series: Events in Summer Semester 2024

AG Blum continued its Comparative Politics & Public Policy Lecture Series, which was launched in the winter semester 2023/24, with a total of four events. All presentations were embedded in courses taught by Prof Dr Sonja Blum and Dr Sandra Plümer.

Prof Dr Markus Tausendpfund from the FernUniversität in Hagen kicked off the series at the end of May. He presented the initial results of the research project "Demokratie Leben Lernen 2.0 - Politische Sozialisation zu Beginn der Sekundarstufe I". Based on a questionnaire-based panel study with two survey dates, the aim was to gain insights into the level of political knowledge, the degree of political awareness and influencing determinants.

Two weeks later, Svenja Bauer-Blaschkowski from TU Darmstadt presented the results of her research into sustainability policy in Germany. Based on expert interviews and website analyses, she examined the significance and respective characteristics of sustainability policy in the urban and municipal context.

In mid-June, Dr Johanna Hornung from the University of Bern reported on media discourses on antibiotic resistance in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a multiple streams analysis, she investigated the extent to which media coverage and situational dynamics influenced policy formulations in Germany and Switzerland.

Prof Dr Colette Vogeler from the University of Speyer gave the last presentation in this semester's lecture series at the end of June and spoke about the policy field of animal welfare. She outlined the research project "TIER: Determinants and international variance of animal welfare policy", which compares animal welfare policies internationally.

The entire working group would like to thank the presenters for their detailed insights and all participants for the productive exchange!

20.06.2024 - Horizon Europe project CIDAPE on emotions in climate policy

In June, Sonja Blum and Nora Habelitz took part in two workshops on political emotions, both of which were part of the new Horizon Europe project "CIDAPE - Climate, Inequality, and Democratic Action: The Force of Political Emotions" (project management: Prof Dr Anna Durnová).

The more than 30 project partners of the CIDAPE project from 11 different EU countries met in person for the first time in Vienna and discussed their work over the next four years. Work package 2, which is based at Bielefeld University, focuses on the role of emotions in policy narratives in climate policy and is conducting case studies in Germany and Italy.

At the Emotional Dynamics of (In)security and Politics conference at Saarland University, Sonja Blum and Nora Habelitz presented a concept developed together with Johanna Kuhlmann (University of Bremen) on how emotions can be analysed in policy narratives. The conference was organised by the Horizon Europe project PROTEMO, which investigates emotions in protective policies and is led by Prof. Dr. Georg Wenzelburger.

We would like to thank Anna Durnová, Zita Zeberer, Georg Wenzelburger and Beatriz Carbone for the lively exchange and for the organisation!

11.06.2024 - Brown Bag Lunch at the Forum Junge Staats-, Policy- und Verwaltungsforschung (FoJuS) of the DVPW

On 6 June, the Forum Junge Staats-, Policy- und Verwaltungsforschung (FoJuS) of the DVPW discussed "Mental health during doctorate/Phd studies" with Dr Jutta Wergen (University of Duisburg-Essen / Coachingzonen Wissenschaft). The discussion focussed on the current study situation regarding mental health during doctorate/Phd studies, various examples of mental stress and structural factors in the academic system that have a favourable effect. Tips and tricks for dealing with stress during the qualification phase were also shared.

The discussion was moderated by working group member Sandra Plümer, who also acts as co-spokesperson for FoJuS. The Brown Bag Lunch (previously conceived as an evening format) focuses on both content-related and structural topics during the doctoral phase and serves as a further exchange format in addition to the annual FoJuS conferences. You can read more about FoJuS here.

We would like to thank you, Jutta, for your input and all participants for the productive dialogue.

28.05.2024 - Participation of AG Blum in the Conference of Policy Process Research (COPPR)

© Bielefeld University

AG Blum took part in the Conference of Policy Process Research (COPPR), which took place in Syracuse, New York State, USA at Syracuse University (Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs) in the middle of the month. Sonja Blum and Nora Habelitz participated digitally in various panels and discussed papers on "The Politics and Policy of Gender".

Sandra Plümer was able to travel to the USA with funding from the Bielefelder Nachwuchsfond (BNF). Together with Kristin Olofsson from the University of Colorado Denver and Pavithra Selvakumar from the University of Oklahoma, she presented a paper on policy learning in climate policy and spoke at a roundtable on "Revisiting Policy Process Theories and Their Relevance for Europe". She also discussed papers on "Culture, Beliefs, and Attitudes - Do they Matter for Policy?" and chaired a panel on "Deep Core Beliefs and Gender Politics".

We would like to thank the organisers, especially Saba Siddiki and Davor Mondom, for the successful organisation and the other participants for the diverse opportunities for exchange. We are already looking forward to #COPPR26 in Bern!

Link to the symposia and the programme: https: //policyprocessresearch.org/

23.05.2024 - Kick-off for the project start "Narratives in Artificial Intelligence Policy" / new team member Robin Dyck

From left to right: Robin Dyck, Anne Goldmann and Sandra Plümer
© Bielefeld University

The kick-off for the project "Narratives in Artificial Intelligence Policy" took place on 22 May 2024. The project, which aims to analyse narratives in artificial intelligence policy measures, is being carried out by Sandra Plümer, a member of the working group, in cooperation with Anne Goldmann from the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum.

The project has employed a student assistant for six months, who has been supporting the team with data research since mid-May. We would therefore also like to welcome Robin Dyck as a new team member of AG Blum. Welcome, Robin!

Sandra Plümer acquired the project funding at the beginning of the year from the Faculty of Sociology's internal research funding programme at Bielefeld University. We would like to thank her for the financial support for this socially and politically very relevant topic, which requires further research in political science and political field analysis.

22.04.2024 - COST Training School in Dubrovnik

The “Work-care policies, gender and social inequalities” Training School took place from 16 April to 20 April. Leading international scholars and early-career researchers came together in Dubrovnik and discussed questions regarding sociology, social policy, gender studies and demography.

Participants benefited from lectures by renowned scholars and in-depth feedback on their own research projects. A meaningful exchange arose on conceptual and methodological challenges in researching the interconnections between work-care policies, gender and social inequalities.

Two researchers from Bielefeld University contributed to the discussion with their respective papers as well. Anna Karmann (Working Group Martin Kroh) presented her research topic titled “The political economy of welfare state transformation in the European Union – A typology of female labour force participation in the context of retrenchment & expansion”. Alexandra Mellies (Working Group Anja Abendroth) participated with her paper “The individual choice option between time or money: A new path in work-care policies initiated by unions in Germany”.

The international scholars who provided feedback and input through their lectures are Rossella Ciccia (University of Oxford, UK), Andrea Doucet (Brock University, CA), Ann-Zofie Duvander (Stockholm University, SE), Wim Van Lancker (KU Leuven, BE), Sonja Blum (Bielefeld University, DE), and Ivana Dobrotić (University of Zagreb, HR).

The Training School was organized by Sustainability@Leave COST Action, University of Zagreb and committee members Ivana Dobrotić (WG5), Sonja Blum (WG2), Ruta Braziene (WG2) and Johanna Lammi-Taskula (WG2).

The organizing committee would like to thank all participants for the productive discussions and new input for further research.

16.04.2024 - Doctoral thesis on policy learning and policy change published by Springer

In her doctoral thesis recently published by Springer, Sandra Plümer analyses the relationship between policy learning and policy change and the role of government actors in this. Under the title "Congruent policy learning as learning-driven policy change: On the coordination mechanism of policy learning in government formations", the research group member analyses the coordination mechanism of government actors that contributes to translating potential, learning-driven policy change into actual policy change. In such cases, one can speak of "congruent learning", because only here is the changed conviction translated into a corresponding policy and implemented. The study identifies a complex coordination mechanism within governments that consists of a dynamic interplay of different norms, resources and interpretation schemes.

The qualitative-interpretative study uses as a case study the debate on the number of school years up to the German 'Abitur' (eight or nine years), which has been going on throughout Germany since the 1990s, and more specifically the return to the Abitur after nine years (G9) in NRW. Sandra Plümer used qualitative content analysis and interpretative process tacing to analyse self-collected expert interviews and policy documents.

With her doctoral thesis, Sandra Plümer primarily contributes to the understanding and explanation of political learning and change processes and sheds light on the 'black box' of government work in policy formulation.

Full source: Plümer, S. (2024). Congruent policy learning as learning-induced policy change: on the coordination mechanism of policy learning in government formations. Wiesbaden: Springer https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-658-44122-7.

20.03.2024 - AG Blum represented at two conferences in Braunschweig

Above left: Sandra Plümer and Tim Paulsen at the presentation of the paper Policy Narrative Learning: The Case of the European Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities (together with Sonja Blum).

Top right: Sandra Plümer at the roundtable.

Centre: Group photo of the section conference participants.

Bottom left: Group photo of the participants at the FoJuS symposia.

Bottom right: Johanna Künzler presents the paper Who tells what where to whom? Conceptualising the dimensions of power in the Narrative Policy Framework, on behalf of the group of authors, including Sonja Blum.

 

Between 14 and 17 March, AG Blum took part in two conferences at the Technical University of Braunschweig: the 17th annual conference of the Forum Junge Staats-, Verwaltungs- und Policy-Forschung (FoJuS) took place from 14 to 15 March and the annual conference of the Policy Analysis and Administrative Science Section from 16 to 17 March. Both FoJuS, as the section's young researchers' organisation, and the section itself are forums within the German Political Science Association (DVPW) that promote exchange on topics of policy analysis and administrative science.

As part of her activities as co-spokesperson of FoJuS and co-opted member of the section board, Sandra Plümer not only co-organised the 17th FoJuS annual conference, but also chaired two panels on the topics of "Performance of municipal administrative action" and "Policy-making at the municipal level". With the joint paper Policy Narrative Learning: The Case of the European Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities, Sonja Blum, Sandra Plümer and Tim Paulsen also took part in a panel on policy processes.

Together with Michael D. Jones, Johanna Künzler, Johanna Kuhlmann, Anne-Marie Parth and Colette Vogler, Sonja Blum also contributed the article Who tells what where to whom? Conceptualising the dimensions of power in the Narrative Policy Framework. Finally, Sandra Plümer was part of a roundtable on "German Perspectives and Contributions to International Theory Development in Public Policy and Public Administration".

The working group would like to thank everyone for the productive exchange and the valuable comments on the papers presented.

18.03.2024 - Call for Papers: “Community, Work and Family” Conference 2025 in Bielefeld

The call for papers for the 10th International Community, Work and Family Conference is now open and runs until 30 June 2024. Submissions can contribute to the topic of community, work and family in general or accepted sessions in particular. All details on the call for papers, available sessions and further information regarding the whole conference can be found on the ICWF website.

The ICWF Conference will take place at Bielefeld University on 25-28 March 2025 and hosts debates on changing structures, policies and practices of community, work and family. It is organized in collaboration with the journal Community, Work and Family published at Taylor & Francis. The Organizing Committee at Bielefeld University is formed by Anja-Kristin Abendroth, Sonja Blum, Mareike Reimann and Antje Schwarz.

13.03.2024 - New Article published in European Policy Analysis

The introduction of the German mandatory lobbying register on the national level in March 2021 marks an unexpected and substantial policy change after a 16-year-long debate about stricter transparency measures. Maximilian Schiffers (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Sandra Plümer (Bielefeld University) explore this sudden policy change in their new article titled Identifying Causal Mechanisms of Unexpected Policy Change: Accumulated Punctuation in the Field of Lobbying Transparency in Germany published in European Policy Analysis (EPA).

Within their article, Schiffers and Plümer discover that policy change is triggered by the shift in influence among the actors involved. In this context, they identify a combination of three mechanisms including the end of a de-thematization of the policy issue, growing dominance of the issue network favoring stricter transparency regulations, and issue validation through the accumulation of scandals. These findings of this case study contribute to a refined theoretical understanding of the causal mechanisms of policy change.

Article: Schiffers, M. & Plümer, S. (2024). Identifying causal mechanisms of unexpected policy change: Accumulated punctuation in the field of lobbying transparency in Germany. European Policy Analysis, early view https://doi.org/10.1002/epa2.1205.

15.02.2024 - Contribution to the “International Workshop on Policy Theories in Europe”

Sandra Plümer and Tim Paulsen represented the working group of Sonja Blum at the latest “International Workshop on Policy Theories in Europe” at the KPM Center for Public Management in Bern. One of the event’s main purposes was to prepare a special issue for the journal European Policy Analysis (EPA) through presentations of papers and subsequent discussions.

Thematically, the workshop aimed towards working on the status quo and future development of policy process theories along leading researchers and workshop participants from 21 countries. Researchers from Europe and North America talked about topics like the status of current policy process research, missing ideas in the theories and cross-cutting concepts.  

Sandra Plümer was invited to present her paper on “Strategies for contributing to policy process theory development from the perspective of junior scholars”, co-authored with Hilda Broqvist (Mid-Sweden University) and Malte Möck (Humboldt University).

Sandra Plümer and Tim Paulsen want to thank the organizers of the workshop, Johanna Hornung and Christopher M. Weible. Sandra and Tim gained a deeper understanding of policy process theories as such and much inspiration for future research in this field.

11.02.2024 - New Research Associate in the Comparative Politics & Public Policy Research Group

Prof Sonja Blum and the team of the Comparative Politics & Public Policy Research Group welcome Nora Habelitz as a new research associate.

Nora Habelitz completed her Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, supplemented by two semesters abroad at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. In her bachelor's thesis, she focussed on how Spanish politicians strategically use narratives about the Franco dictatorship in their political communication. This was followed by an Erasmus stay at King's College London during her Master's degree. She completed her Master's thesis on political representation and representative claims in the German "Citizens' Council Climate 2021" at the Humboldt-University of Berlin.

Since 2018, Nora Habelitz has worked in various functions at the Hans Böckler Foundation. As a project and research associate in the "Work of the Future" research centre and in the "Hub: Shaping Transformation", she worked in science transfer on topics related to socio-ecological transformation. In addition, she produced the quarterly published research monitoring "Work of the Future".

Since the beginning of February, Nora Habelitz has been a doctoral student and research assistant in the Horizon Europe Project "Climate, Inequality, and Democratic Action: The Force of Political Emotions" (CIDAPE) under the project management of Prof Anna Durnová and Prof Sonja Blum. In work package 2, she is investigating the role of emotions in climate policy narratives in Germany and Italy.

Nora Habelitz' research interests include political communication, climate and social policy and democratic innovation.

Welcome to the team!

22.01.2024 - New article published in the Review of Policy Research

In times of crisis, narratives play a central role in political decisions and their public communication. In their recently published article, Nikolina Klatt and Sonja Blum analyse the policy narratives of two different school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic in New York City, which affected more than one million pupils. They primarily compare the use of scientific evidence to legitimise both school closures and by different political actors. The article shows the differences in the use of "evidence" between the two school closures and the extent to which "evidence" is strategically used by actors to support certain policy positions.

Article: Klatt, N. & Blum, S. (2024). How does the use of evidence in policy narratives change during crises? A comparative study of New York City's pandemic school shutdowns, Review of Policy Research, online first: https://doi.org/10.1111/ropr.12589

16.01.2024 - Comparative Politics & Public Policy Lecture Series: Narratives and Policy Change in Social Policy

In the second event of the Comparative Politics & Public Policy Lecture Series on 16 January 2024, the influence of narratives on policies in social policy was discussed. Sandra Plümer and AG Blum invited Dr Johanna Künzler from the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer as part of the Master's seminar "Policy Change, Theories and Applications in Climate and Social Policy". She is a research assistant at the Chair of Comparative Public Administration and Policy Analysis. In her research, she deals with the policy process and focusses in particular on agenda setting, decision-making and implementation.

Dr Johanna Künzler was connected for her presentation via Zoom and presented the case of the Swiss Child and Adult Protection Authority (KESB). She focussed on how political and media pressure can contribute to changing a policy. Despite the digital format, a lively discussion developed on the importance of narratives within policy implementation.

AG Blum would like to thank Dr Johanna Künzler for these insights and the opportunity to exchange ideas!

14.12.2023 - Comparative Politics & Public Policy Lecture Series: Policy Change in Climate Policy

On 12 December 2023, the kick-off event of the Comparative Politics & Public Policy Lecture Series took place with the topic "Policy Change in Climate Policy". As part of the Master's seminar "Policy Change, Theories and Applications in Climate and Social Policy" by Sandra Plümer, AG Blum invited Dr Nicolas Jager from Wageningen University. As Assistant Professor for "Governance of Sustainability Transformations", he deals with questions of environmental policy, sustainability, resource management and the political control of transformation processes.

In his presentation, Dr Nicolas Jager presented the results of his interdisciplinary research on sustainability transformation. The subject of his research was the German energy transition and the factors that contributed significantly to this policy change. In order to explain this radical policy change, Dr Nicolas Jager expanded classic approaches to policy research (multiple streams approach) to include interdisciplinary approaches (multilevel perspective).

AG Blum would like to thank Dr Jager for these insights and the opportunity to exchange ideas!

The next presentation in the Lecture Series will take place on 16 January (12.15 - 13.45) on policy change in social policy. An invitation to the faculty members will follow shortly.

08.12.2023 - Successful Defense of Dissertation

Sandra Plümer, research associate at the Comparative Politics and Public Policy Research Group, successfully defended her dissertation on 29 November 2023 and graduated with summa cum laude (with highest distinction). Her research focused on policy learning in German school and education policy, leading to major policy change.

Members of the defense committee were Karl-Rudolf Korte (University of Duisburg-Essen, first supervisor), Karin Ingold (University of Bern, second supervisor), Andreas Blätte (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Ulrike Berendt (University of Duisburg-Essen).

Sandra Plümer will continue working on policy learning and change as well as on theories of the policy process.

Sonja Blum and the whole Comparative Politics and Public Policy Research Group sincerely congratulate Sandra Plümer on this great achievement.

01.12.2023 - "Community, Work and Family" Conference 2025 in Bielefeld

The 10th International Community, Work and Family Conference will take place at Bielefeld University on 25-28 March 2025. The conference will bring together a global multidisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners to contribute to debates on changing structures, policies and practices of community, work and family (CWF) and to stimulate further research in this regard.

The conference is organized in collaboration with the journal Community, Work and Family published at Taylor & Francis. The Organizing Committee at Bielefeld University is formed by Anja-Kristin Abendroth, Sonja Blum and Mareike Reimann.

The call for sessions is now open and runs until 31 January 2024. All details on the call for sessions and further information can be found here.

20.11.2023 - Call for COST Sustainability@Leave training school "Work-care policies, gender and social inequalities"

The funding agency for research and innovation networks COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) and the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb Center for Advanced Academic Studies organize an early-career training school in Dubrovnik/Croatia on 17-19 April 2024.

Within this program, early-career researchers (PhDs, Postdocs) will have the opportunity to present and discuss their own projects on “Work-care policies, gender, and social inequalities”. Through in-depth feedback on their work by leading international scholars in sociology, social policy, gender studies and demography, participants advance their knowledge of theories, concepts and methodologies while establishing networks with colleagues working on related topics.

Applications can be submitted to sonja.blum@uni-bielefeld.de until 15 December 2023. Further information regarding applications and the program itself can be found on this website.

14.10.2023 - New Research Associate in the Comparative Politics & Public Policy Research Group

With the start of the Winter Semester 2023/24, Prof. Sonja Blum and the team of the Comparative Politics & Public Policy Research Group welcome the new research associate Sandra Plümer.

After her Bachelor's degree in "European Studies" at Maastricht University and her Master's degree in "Political Management, Public Policy and Public Administration" at the NRW School of Governance at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), Sandra Plümer completed her doctorate at the Faculty of Social Sciences at UDE. In her doctoral thesis with the title "Coordination Mechanism of Policy Learning within Government Formations: on the Relationship between Consistency, Congruence and Policy Change", she dealt with long-term learning processes in North Rhine-Westphalian school policy using the example of the return to the German 'Abitur' after nine years.

During her five years as a research associate so far, she has been involved in several university committees and was, among other things, spokesperson for the Mittelbau at the Institute of Political Science at the UDE. In addition, she has been a member of the International Public Policy Association (IPPA) and the German Association for Political Science (DVPW) for several years. Particularly noteworthy is her function as co-spokesperson of the Forum Junge Staats-, Policy- und Verwaltungsforschung (FoJuS), which is a sub-organisation for young junior researchers within the DVPW.

In her current research projects, Sandra Plümer is dedicated to policy processes and, in particular, policy process theories. Her focus is on understanding and explaining policy change and policy learning. Methodologically, Sandra Plümer works primarily with qualitative research methods.

Welcome to the team!

18.09.2023 - Conferences in September

Roundtable at the Three-Country Meeting in Linz (Photo: University of Linz)

In September, the Comparative Politics and Public Policy Research Group was represented at two conferences.

First, this year's ECPR symposia (European Consortium for Political Research) took place in Prague from September 4th - 8th. Sonja Blum presented a paper co-authored with Johanna Kuhlmann (University of Bremen) on the role of emotions in the Narrative Policy Framework.

Afterwards, the University of Linz hosted the political science Dreiländertagung. It is a joint event of the Austrian Political Science Association (ÖGPW), the German Political Science Association (DVPW) and the Swiss Political Science Association (SVPW). At the opening event, Sonja Blum discussed together with Reinhard Heinisch (Salzburg), in a roundtable moderated by Margitta Mätzke (Linz), the topic of the conference: "Zeitenwende: Politics (Science) in Uncertain Times".

01.08.2023 - New article published in European Political Science

The social relevance of political science has received increasing attention, including its role in policy advice. But what influences the extent and forms in which political scientists engage in policy advice? This is the question addressed in a new article published in European Political Science. The article is based on survey data from 39 European countries from the COST Action ProSEPS, in which Sonja Blum (Bielefeld University) represented Germany. The findings contradict an image of political scientists in the academic "ivory tower": the vast majority (80%) of them are active in policy advice, providing not only expertise but also normative assessments.

Article: Jungblut, J., Gouglas, A., Katz, G. et al. Out of the ivory tower: an explanation of the policy advisory roles of political scientists in Europe. European Political Science (2023), online first: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41304-023-00440-x

12.05.2023 - Article on day-care centre and school closures published

An article was recently published in the European Journal of Politics and Gender in which Ivana Dobrotić‡ (University of Zagreb) and Sonja Blum (Bielefeld University) examine daycare and school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic. The 28 European countries compared can be assigned to five different models, which followed different approaches in their regulations: a public health approach, an education approach, a strict work-care approach, a mild work-care approach, and a high-risk approach. The findings point to the controversial nature of the continuous provision of education and care services during the pandemic, as well as the balancing of often conflicting policy objectives. The analysis is based on a newly compiled dataset (COVID-PCPR), which has been made available here for further analysis.

Article: Dobrotić, I. & Blum, S. (2023). 'Sorry, we're closed': a fuzzy-set ideal-type analysis of pandemic childcare policy responses in 28 European countries, European Journal of Politics and Gender, online first: https://doi.org/10.1332/251510821X16812994360871

12.05.2023 - Workshop on Narratives and Power in Speyer

(Photo: Bielefeld University)

On 11 and 12 May 2023, an international workshop on policy narratives and power took place in Speyer. The workshop was jointly organised by the team of the Chair of Comparative Public Administration and Policy Analysis at the University of Speyer (Colette Vogeler, Johanna Künzler, Anne-Marie Parth), Sonja Blum (Bielefeld University) and Johanna Kuhlmann (University of Bremen). Participants of the hybrid workshop presented analyses from Sweden, Ecuador and the USA, among others. The aim of the workshop was to prepare a special issue on the role of power in the Narrative Policy Framework for a professional journal.

13.04.2023 - Sonja Blum elected to the IPPA College

Prof. Dr. Sonja Blum was elected to the College of the International Public Policy Association (IPPA) for the election period 2023-2027. She is one of the 24 representatives of the individual members of the IPPA who are responsible for the general direction of the association in the College. The next IPPA conference will take place in Toronto in June this year.

13.03.2023 - Appointment as university professor

(Photo: Bielefeld University)

Prof. Dr. Sonja Blum will take over as head of the Comparative Politics & Policy Analysis Research Group in the Summer Semester of 2023. On Monday, 13 March 2023, Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector of Bielefeld University, presented her with the certificate of appointment as a university professor. Sonja Blum previously worked at the FernUniversität in Hagen, the KU Leuven, the University of Vienna and the University of Münster.

31.01.2023 - Students from Bielefeld at "NRW Debates Europe"

(Photo: University of Duisburg-Essen)

On 26 January, students represented "Team Bielefeld" at the grand final debate of "NRW debates Europe". The format was launched in 2016 by Michael Kaeding (Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration and European Policy at the University of Duisburg-Essen) and is supported by the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia.

12.12.2022 - New "Research Handbook on Leave Policy" published

The „Research Handbook on Leave Policy. Parenting and Social Inequalities in a Global Perspective“ has just been published with Edward Elgar. The book is co-edited by Sonja Blum together with Ivana Dobrotić (University of Zagreb) and Alison Koslowski (University College London).

Featuring 28 contributions from leading international scholars of social policy, the Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of conceptual and methodological developments in leave policy research, as well as state-of-the-art findings on leave policy determinants and outcomes globally.

The Research Handbook is organised in five parts:

Part I: Conceptual and analytical challenges in leave policy research
Part II: Analysing the drivers of leave policies: politics and ideas
Part III: Assessing the outcomes of leave policies
Part IV: Leave policies in comparative perspective
Part V: Gaps and the future of leave policy research and development

The topic of leave policy design and social inequalities is placed at the centre of the Research Handbook. Chapters illustrate its relevance in the context of gendered care and employment practices, precarious, underinsured, and nonstandard employment, informal economies, migration, family changes, and growing financial strains for parents. Using parental leave policy as an empirical lens to further our understanding of the intersectional nature of social inequalities, the editors ultimately consider whether there is a case to reconfigure leave policy as a social right.

08.06.2022 - Event on "Flight and Integration: Challenges for Public Administration"

Since 2019, the German Political Science Association (DVPW) has been organising the event series "Political Science in Conversation", which is primarily aimed at journalists and the interested professional public. Sonja Blum (Bielefeld University) and Tanja Klenk (Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg) have now organised an event on the topic of "Flight and Integration: Challenges for Public Administration". How resilient is migration and integration administration? And what lessons have been learned from the 2015 crisis?

The current episode of "Political Science in Conversation" deals with the distribution and perception of tasks in the area of migration and integration in the federal state. Four experts provide help desk information on current news.

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