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RC 19 Annual Conference, Mannheim 2019

"Global Crises and Social Policy: Coping with Conflict, Migration and Climate Change" reflects the current struggle in politics and academic scholarship to make sense of a rapidly changing world. The contexts and conditions to which social policy responds are gradually evolving due to changing societies (related to aging, migration, and so on) and living conditions affected by climate change. Furthermore, recent social policy initiatives, developments, and reforms are driven by reactions to multiple "crises", including the economic recession, the perceived "refugee crisis", care worker shortages, and the undermining of multilateralism. In many places, we can observe a (re)focus on national interests, particularly concerning the treatment of nationals versus non-nationals in social assistance and social protection, and the control of migration. In addition, discussions about the implications of rapidly intensifying climate change are often occurring separately from social policy debates, even though both concern important (re)distributional issues among groups and across generations. Current political debates seem to be less about what an ideal or improved welfare state could look like but more about the implications of multiple, overlapping crises on people's social protection, deservingness perceptions, and inclusion capacity.

Papers discuss these developments and related social policy changes. For example, how do we make sense of parallel processes of universalizing social policies in some fields and places, and increasingly exclusionary rhetoric of social protection in others?

Given that the conference takes place the same year as the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, there will also be contributions about social policy developments generated by this historic event. For example, has the transition of Eastern Europe from socialist to capitalist democracies contributed to the sustainability of European welfare states (and beyond)? What kind of major patterns can be observed?

The RC19 annual meeting brings together international scholars in the fields of comparative and transnational social policy studies, encompassing a range of disciplines including sociology, social policy, political science, and economics. Beyond the specific themes outlined above, RC19 members present their ongoing work and new papers, even if they are not closely connected to the theme of the conference. All presenters must be members of RC19 by the time of the conference. To join, please contact our treasurer, Timo Fleckenstein.

For any questions regarding the conference please email


We thank the following institutions for supporting this event:

  • German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • ISA RC19
  • Mannheim Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES)
  • Bielefeld University, Faculty of Sociology
  • University of Siegen

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