Project

International Research & Policy Network on Sustainable Welfare

Goal: The goal of the International Research & Policy Network for Sustainable Welfare is to facilitate the exchange between researcher, policymakers and policy experts on the question how welfare and social security shall be organized in an ecologically sustainable society.

You can register for the email-list at: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?SUBED1=SUSTAINABLEWELFARE&A=1

Currently, ecological considerations are of little to no importance in social policy making, neither have sustainability research yet developed a detailed picture on the way welfare should be organized in ecologically sustainable societies. The goals of the network is to change that by
• deepening the exchange between the two sides on concrete policy proposals, providing information for people who are interested in the field – also for people who consider working on these topic but haven’t yet.
• distributing information on new publications, events, call for papers/participation and projects, job postings etc. among the members
• sharing ideas on actual or proposed social policies and receiving feedback from other members from an environmental perspective.
• establishing Sustainable Welfare as a new research field.
• raising political awareness on ecological aspects of social policy and social aspects in the environmental debate.

While there are both networks on specific aspects in this field (e.g. basic income, time use research) and networks on a broader spectrum (e.g. post-growth, green inclusive growth), the intermediate level of social security institutions does not have an explicit organizational format yet. We seek to change that to enable an advancement on the following (not finite list of) questions:
• How can the welfare state become ecologically more sustainable?
• Which concept of eco-social policies exist and what can they contribute to sustainable welfare?
• What are the environmental impacts of different (current or past) types of welfare states?
• Are todays social security systems depending on economic growth (and if yes, which aspects e.g. pensions to which degree)?
• How can the stability of social security systems be guaranteed in the absence of economic growth?
• Do we need new forms of social insurance (e.g. time banking) to ensure environmental sustainability?
• What are the ecological consequences of different forms of basic provision and insurance?
• What signifies „good work“ if we take into account the ecological impacts of employment?
• How can one use current game changers like digitalization und ageing to establish innovative and ecologically sustainable institutions of work and welfare (e.g. Green & Social Crowdworking?)
• What kind of social security do people need to live an ecologically sustainable life?
• Which sustainability strategies (efficiency, consistency, sufficiency) have particularly good implications as concerns social inclusion?
• How can a “just transition” be realized?

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Project log

Martin Fritz
added 4 research items
Es besteht weitgehend Einigkeit darüber, dass eine Transformation hin zu einer post-fossilen Wirtschaft auf Grundlage erneuerbarer und bio-basierter Energien und Ressourcen unvermeidlich ist, und dass dies grundlegende strukturelle Veränderungen in modernen Gesellschaften verlangt. Diese Veränderungen werden jedoch bislang vor allem als technologische Innovationen und Umgestaltungen von Produktionsprozessen und Infrastrukturen verstanden. Weitaus weniger beachtet werden dagegen die Fragen, wie sich post-fossile Transformationen auf die gegenwärtig verbreiteten Lebensweisen bzw. typischen Muster von Alltagspraktiken sowie auf die Mentalitäten bzw. Wahrnehmungs-, Bewertungs- und Handlungsgewohnheiten der in diesen Gesellschaften lebenden Menschen auswirken (müssen), die ihrerseits nicht minder von 200 Jahren Fossilismus geprägt sind. Dieses Working Paper stellt unseren Ansatz einer relationalen sozial-ökologischen Mentalitätsforschung vor, den wir als notwendige Ergänzung zur bestehenden Forschung über postfossile Transformationsprozesse vorschlagen, um diese beiden Dimensionen systematisch in den Blick zu nehmen. Es erörtert zunächst den Mentalitätsbegriff als konzeptionellen Ausgangspunkt, skizziert seine Ursprünge in der Tradition der deutschen Soziologie und gibt ihm eine solidere theoretische Grundlage, indem es ihn in Pierre Bourdieus Theorie der Praxis mit ihrem Habituskonzept verankert. In Auseinandersetzung mit unterschiedlichen Debattensträngen der sozial-ökologischen Forschung (u.a. zu gesellschaftlichen Naturverhältnissen, den materiellen, institutionellen und mentalen Infrastrukturen fossiler Wachstumsgesellschaften und den Dynamiken von Externalisierung und Ungleichheit, die den entsprechenden Lebensweisen zugrunde liegen) schlagen wir eine Reihe von Erweiterungen vor, durch die sich die relationale Praxistheorie für sozial-ökologische Fragen sensibilisieren lässt. Hiervon ausgehend schlagen wir ein „sozial-ökologisches Update“ von Bourdieus Praxistheorie vor, das sie mit dem Konzept der „sozialen Naturbeziehungen“ und der Konstruktion eines „Raums der sozialen Naturbeziehungen“ in Analogie und Ergänzung zum Raum der sozialen (Klassen-)Beziehungen an diese Debatten anschließt.
Martin Fritz
added a research item
Current welfare systems rely on economic growth to manage the mounting challenges of demographic change, digitalisation and ecological and economic crises. One consequence of this structural dependence on economic growth is that there are often negative social and economic outcomes in times of secular stagnation and recession. Transforming welfare systems so that they flourish without economic growth is a pressing challenge that will have significant implications for the sustainability of our welfare systems and the economic and social resilience of our societies. Research on sustainable welfare identifies four main strategies to reduce the reliance of welfare systems on economic growth, and increase their resilience in an ecologically sustainable way: 1. Invest in preventive social policy, from healthcare and education to urban planning. 2. Promote economic equality through minimum & maximum income caps, time-banking and by shifting the tax base of welfare states towards capital, financial transactions & ecologically-damaging goods. 3. Meet citizens’ basic needs through universal basic services and universal basic voucher schemes. 4. Green employment through sectoral shifts, sustainable workers’ rights, and climate insurances. The strategies above, which work to reduce the dependence of welfare systems on economic growth, also entail co-benefits like gender-equality, work-life balance, community building, and reductions in material footprint. In what follows, we list concrete steps the EU can take to promote resilient and Sustainable Welfare systems.
Martin Fritz
added an update
Private Profile und me have published a policy brief with ZOE Institute for Future-fit Economies. It is about how to make welfare and social security systems resilient in times of current health and ongoing ecological crises. We decribe measures and eco-social policies that enable flourishing without economic growth.
You can find the brief added as file to this project or online here:
...with many thanks to Christine Corlet Walker for fruitful discussions,
comments on and review of the policy brief :)
 
Martin Fritz
added 2 research items
Vortrag und Gesprächsrunde darüber, wie unsere Wirtschaftsweise angesichts der Klima- und Umweltkrise nachhaltiger gestaltet werden kann. Es wird besonders auf Degrowth Konzepte eingegangen, die eine partizipative, sozial gerechte und ökologisch verträgliche Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft anstreben. Die Veranstaltung fand im September 2020 statt und war Teil des "Erfurter Diskurses" der Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Thüringen in Zusammenarbeit mit Fridays for Future Erfurt.
Private Profile
added a research item
Zusammenfassung: Klimagerechtigkeit heißt, den Umgang mit den Ursachen, Folgen und Kosten des menschengemachten Klimawandels zu regeln, ohne dabei bestimmte soziale Gruppen zu benachteiligen. Dazu gibt es Vorstellungen von einer gerechten Verteilung und Prinzipien für das richtige Handeln. Aber wie lässt sich Klimagerechtigkeit mit konkreten politischen Maßnahmen erreichen? In diesem Beitrag argumentieren wir, dass eine nachhaltige Sozialpolitik, in der soziale Gerechtigkeit und Klimaschutz zusammengebracht werden, die dazu nötigen vielfältigen sozialökologischen Maßnahmen und Instrumente zur Ver-fügung stellt. Wir zeichnen zunächst kurz die Entstehung der Klimagerechtig-keitsbewegung im Kontext der globalen Umweltpolitik nach und diskutieren die Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede zum Konzept der nachhaltigen Sozialpolitik. Anschließend unterbreiten wir Vorschläge, wie z. B. durch die Einführung einer sozialökologischen Steuerreform, von Klimasozialversicherungen und anderen Instrumenten nachhaltige Sozialpolitik in der Praxis gestaltet werden kann. Abstract: Climate justice is concerned with regulating the causes, costs and consequences of anthropogenic climate change without discriminating against social groups. The concept involves ideas of a fair distribution and principles for action. But how can climate justice be achieved in practice? What precise political measures are necessary? In this article we argue that the idea of sustainable welfare, which reconciles social justice with climate protection, provides the necessary social-ecological measures and instruments. We first briefly trace the emergence of the climate justice movement in the context of global environmental policy and discuss the similarities and differences to the concept of sustainable welfare. Finally, we make suggestions, how sustainable welfare can be put into practice
Private Profile
added an update
Soziale Sicherungssysteme im Umbruch: Wie können sie den ökologischen Wandel unterstützen und soziale Inklusion gewährleisten? Fachtagung, 22. & 23. September 2020, Schmitthennerhaus, Heidelberg
Soziale Sicherungssysteme im Umbruch: Wie können sie den ökologischen Wandel unterstützen und soziale Inklusion gewährleisten?
Interdisziplinäre Fachtagung am 22./23. September in Heidelberg in der Reihe „Die Wirtschaft der Gesellschaft"
Bei der Tagung „Soziale Sicherungssysteme im Umbruch: Wie können sie den ökologischen Wandel unterstützen und soziale Inklusion gewährleisten?“ wollen wir soziale und ökologische Fragen mit Blick auf die Gestaltung sozialer Sicherung zusammendenken, Veränderungsbedarfe auch vor dem aktuellen Hintergrund der Corona-Pandemie diskutieren und integrierte Lösungen suchen.
Wir freuen uns sehr, für diese Diskussion spannende Impulsgeberinnen und -geber gewonnen zu haben: Prof. Dr. Remi Maier-Rigaud zur Rolle von Utopien für die Veränderung sozialer Sicherungssysteme in Krisenzeiten, Katharina Bohnenberger zu Kriterien nachhaltiger Sozialpolitik, Prof. Dr. Philippe van Parijs zum Verhältnis von Corona, Klimawandel und Bedingungslosem Grundeinkommen, Prof. Dr. Frank Nullmeier und Prof. Dr. Theresia Wintergerst zu neuen Funktionen und Säulen der sozialen Sicherung sowie Dr. Martin Fritz zur gesellschaftlichen Akzeptanz sozial-ökologischer Politikvorschläge. 
Denn die Corona-Pandemie zeigt aktuell eindrücklich, wie entscheidend eine gut funktionierende soziale Sicherung für das Wohlergehen von Gesellschaften und ihre Fähigkeit zum Umgang mit Krisen ist. Doch auch längerfristige Trends wie der demographische Wandel, der Rückgang der Wachstumsraten und die Digitalisierung stellen die Systeme der sozialen Sicherung vor große Herausforderungen gestellt. Zurecht findet die prekäre Situation unterfinanzierter Sorgearbeit immer mehr Beachtung. Gleichzeitig erfordern ökologische Krisen einen umfassenden strukturellen Wandel von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft – eine Transformation, die auch am Sozialstaat nicht vorbeigehen kann. Kurzum: Umfassende Veränderungen sind notwendig.
Die Tagung wird veranstaltet von dem interdisziplinären Forschungsinstitut FEST e. V. in Heidelberg gemeinsam mit dem Oswald von Nell-Breuning-Institut. Zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt hoffen wir, uns trotz der aktuellen Lage im September bei einer Präsenzveranstaltung in Heidelberg austauschen zu können.  
Mehr Informationen zu Programm und Anmeldung im anhängenden Flyer und unter www.fest-heidelberg.de/kommende-veranstaltungen. Gerne darf die Information auch an andere Interessierte weitergeleitet werden! 
 
Martin Fritz
added an update
Call for Papers: – Empirical Insights about Sustainable Welfare and Eco-social Policies
Academic paper session at the 7th International Degrowth and 16th ISEE Joint Conference: Building Alternative Livelihoods in times of ecological and political crisis Manchester 1 to 5 September 2020
We welcome your abstracts of no more than 250 words by March 6, 2020.
Organizers: Christine Corlet Walker and Martin Fritz
See attached file for details.
This session is part of a sub-theme on ‘Sustainable Welfare beyond Growth’ organized by our Network. Please also consider the two other sessions, one of which deals with theoretical perspectives on sustainable welfare (organized by Hubert Buch-Hansen and Max Koch) and the other with the discussion of concrete eco-social policy proposals (organized by Katharina Bohnenberger and Tuuli Hirvilammi).
 
Private Profile
added a research item
While the social consequences of environmental policies are extensively evaluated in sustainability research, few studies exist on the ecological impact of social benefits and the welfare state. Sustainable welfare is a novel research field that seeks to close this knowledge gap and develop integrated eco-social policies. Within this, researchers are starting to ask how citizen’s needs can be guaranteed in an environmentally sustainable way and how their welfare benefits should be delivered. Should citizens receive a universal basic income, be given vouchers for ecologically beneficial or socially needed goods and services, or be provided with access to socio-ecological infrastructures and services? This article develops a framework for sustainable welfare benefits with six criteria of sustainable welfare and nine different types of welfare benefits that belong to the domains of universal basic income (UBI), universal basic services (UBS), and universal basic vouchers (UBV). Using this framework, existing policy proposals are categorized and evaluated. The advantages and disadvantages of the different types of welfare benefits are discussed and new application areas highlighted. The analysis shows that a successful policy will likely include all forms of welfare benefits, with certain types being more adequate for certain fields and societal circumstances. The framework for sustainable welfare benefits can serve as a starting point for further research on integrated policy design and inform policymakers on the selection of eco-social policies.
Martin Fritz
added 4 research items
Taking a global perspective this paper sets out to theoretically and empirically identify prosperity patterns for four groups of countries at different levels of economic development. It conceptualizes ‘prosperity’ in terms of ecological sustainability, social inclusion, and the quality of life and contextualizes this definition in global perspective. Subsequently, it operationalizes and measures these dimensions on the basis of data from sources such as the World Bank, the Global Footprint Network and the OECD for 138 countries and by applying dual multiple factor analysis. Building on earlier research that suggested that higher development levels in terms of GDP per capita are capable of providing social and individual prosperity but at the expense of environmental sustainability, we ask whether other interrelations between prosperity indicators exist on other levels of economic development. Empirically distinguishing between ‘rich’, ‘emerging’, ‘developing’ and ‘poor countries’ the paper finds that social and individual prosperity indicators largely increase with economic development while ecological sustainability indicators worsen. Our analyses further reveal that ‘social cohesion’ can be established under different economic and institutional conditions, that subjective wellbeing increases with income rises at all levels of economic development and that a decoupling of carbon emissions from the provision of prosperity is, in principle, achievable, while a reduction of the global matter and energy throughput poses a much greater challenge. The paper concludes by highlighting the repercussions of these findings for the trajectories that countries at different levels of economic development would need to undertake.
A steady state economy needs indicators that capture ecological sustainability, social inclusion and quality of life based on both objective and subjective data. Interrelations between indicators and country comparisons show the potential of increasing prosperity without raising material consumption.
Private Profile
added an update
We would like make the exchange among us easier. For this purpose we have set up a new mailing list where we aim to distribute information on new publications, events, calls for papers/participation and projects, and job postings etc. Join the email-list at: www.jiscmail.ac.uk/SUSTAINABLEWELFARE
 
Private Profile
added an update
I would like to draw your attention to the English/German conference "Social and Environmental Sustainability as Preventive Social Policy” taking place 23.-24. September in Bremen. It is organized by the German social policy research institutes SOCIUM, FGW, IAQ and the second day will be fully in English.
 
Private Profile
added an update
Denis Bouget and Philippe Pochet are hosting a stream on "Reconciling ecological and social citizenship?" at the upcoming ESPANET conference in Stockholm. Further information can be found at: https://espanet2019.se/streams/stream-5/
 
Martin Fritz
added an update
International Sociological Association (ISA)
Research Committee (RC) 19 on Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy
Global Crises and Social Policy:
Coping with Conflict, Migration and Climate Change
Annual Conference, 28-30 August 2019,
University of Mannheim, Germany
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.
Keynotes
Climate change: an impossible challenge to sustainable social policy?
Ian Gough, Visiting Professor LSE and Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, University of Bath
Care and Migration Policies in East and Southeast Asia
Ito Peng, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy, University of Toronto
We invite papers that discuss these global developments (conflict, migration and climate change) 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, we also encourage 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, we invite RC19 members to present their ongoing work and new papers, even if they are not closely connected to the theme of the conference.
Abstracts are welcome from non-RC19 members, but all presenters must be members of RC19 by the time of the conference. To join, please contact our treasurer, Timo Fleckenstein at t.fleckenstein@lse.ac.uk
Please submit your abstract (max 450 words) via:
Deadline for Abstract submission: 15 December 2018
Conference organizers:
Bernhard Ebbinghaus, University of Oxford & MZES
Alexandra Kaasch, Bielefeld University
Hildegard Theobald, University of Vechta
Claus Wendt, University of Siegen & MZES
The RC19 conference will take place at the University of Mannheim with the support of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). Our Social Program will include a trip to Heidelberg and a visit of the Max Weber House.
For any questions regarding the conference and call for papers please email to RC19conf2019@mzes.uni-mannheim.de.
 
Private Profile
added an update
@German speaking researcher:
Hier ein Hinweis auf einen interessanten Call for Papers.
„Great Transformation. Die Zukunft moderner Gesellschaften“
Abschlusskonferenz der DFG-Kollegforscher_innengruppe „Landnahme, Beschleunigung, Aktivierung. Zur (De-)Stabilisierung moderner Wachstumsgesellschaften“ und 2. Regionalkonferenz der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, 23. bis 27. September 2019
Wir planen vom Forschungsnetz einen Beitrag zum Thema Nachhaltige Sozialpolitik und freuen und noch über Beteiligung. Wer Interesse an einer gemeinsamen Veranstaltungsorganisation hat möge mich gerne bald möglich ansprechen.
Deadline für die eingereichten Beiträge ist der 30.11.2018.
 
Private Profile
added an update
We are happy to receive information about research projects and articles in the field. Feel free to post your articles, research items or literature lists in a comment to this post.
 
Martin Fritz
added an update
Thank you very much Katharina for setting this up! I appreciate your initiative and hope that many scholars will join us (I will invite some). Before adding publications and conference announcements in the next days I just want to add one aspects/question to the project description:
1. Shall we build our concept of sustainable welfare on Goughs notion of eco-social policy, too? This would not only include to make social policy more sustainable and environmental policy more social but also to develop new or redesign existing policies into integrated eco-social policies. A good example for this are urban concepts to upscale bicycle infrastructure and downscale car-related space usage. Such a policy simultaneously contributes to better environmental conditions (less air pollution) as well as social aspects (health, quality of life in city quarters etc.).
 
Private Profile
added a project goal
The goal of the International Research & Policy Network for Sustainable Welfare is to facilitate the exchange between researcher, policymakers and policy experts on the question how welfare and social security shall be organized in an ecologically sustainable society.
Currently, ecological considerations are of little to no importance in social policy making, neither have sustainability research yet developed a detailed picture on the way welfare should be organized in ecologically sustainable societies. The goals of the network is to change that by
• deepening the exchange between the two sides on concrete policy proposals, providing information for people who are interested in the field – also for people who consider working on these topic but haven’t yet.
• distributing information on new publications, events, call for papers/participation and projects, job postings etc. among the members
• sharing ideas on actual or proposed social policies and receiving feedback from other members from an environmental perspective.
• establishing Sustainable Welfare as a new research field.
• raising political awareness on ecological aspects of social policy and social aspects in the environmental debate.
While there are both networks on specific aspects in this field (e.g. basic income, time use research) and networks on a broader spectrum (e.g. post-growth, green inclusive growth), the intermediate level of social security institutions does not have an explicit organizational format yet. We seek to change that to enable an advancement on the following (not finite list of) questions:
• How can the welfare state become ecologically more sustainable?
• Which concept of eco-social policies exist and what can they contribute to sustainable welfare?
• What are the environmental impacts of different (current or past) types of welfare states?
• Are todays social security systems depending on economic growth (and if yes, which aspects e.g. pensions to which degree)?
• How can the stability of social security systems be guaranteed in the absence of economic growth?
• Do we need new forms of social insurance (e.g. time banking) to ensure environmental sustainability?
• What are the ecological consequences of different forms of basic provision and insurance?
• What signifies „good work“ if we take into account the ecological impacts of employment?
• How can one use current game changers like digitalization und ageing to establish innovative and ecologically sustainable institutions of work and welfare (e.g. Green & Social Crowdworking?)
• What kind of social security do people need to live an ecologically sustainable life?
• Which sustainability strategies (efficiency, consistency, sufficiency) have particularly good implications as concerns social inclusion?
• How can a “just transition” be realized?