Changing Welfare, Changing States? Comparative Social Policies revisited by Gender.

About this class

The course is based on cooperation with Delhi State University of New York and follows a blended learning concept. Students from Potsdam and the U.S. work together to create a Weblog at newsactivist.com. While doing this students train their writing skills as well as the competence to pose scientific questions.

Several online guest lectures for instance held by Prof. Sabine Levet from the MIT Boston or Prof. Bilkis Zabara from the Gender and Research Center Sana’a (Yemen) as well as two session held by an development expert coming from NGO Menschen für Menschen (Ethiopia) will complement the course and offer plenty opportunities for discussions and practical work.

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the field of social policy with a special regard to gender relations. The course provides an overview of the main theories and empirical developments in welfare state and social policy analysis. Major and updated topics (e.g. aging societies, globalization, climate change or immigration) are discussed. Students should learn to reflect different cultural contexts. Special emphasis is put on the characteristics of welfare policies and gender policies in Germany , the U.S. and other countries of the participating students. The opportunity is given that international students present a part of their home county social policies. The development and distinctiveness of the “German Model” is analyzed in a comparative, international perspective.

University of Potsdam, Germany
by Margaux L. on April 1, 2015
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred in Japan on 11march 2011, is etched into the memory and worried public who ask for more transparency on nuclear industry. Energy is essential for human being to live. We use energy every day in a different way: food, electricity, petrol… Nuclear power is quite recent in regard of thermal power station which used fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas). It is the result of a fission.This power is controversial due to its danger, but also admired because it’s a powerful energy.   

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Margaux L. on April 1, 2015
Global Climat change and Global warming are already happening, both are challenges for the future of humanity. Governments have undertaken little action in terms of preparing response strategies and promoting resilience. The Kyoto Protocole (signed on 1997, effective since 16 February 2005) « which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) » and the Copenhagen Summit (2009) were supposing to offer concrete answers to the environmental challenges of the next few decades.

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Margaux L. on March 31, 2015
As Simone de Beauvoir said « On ne naît pas femme, on le devient » which means « One is not born a woman, but becomes one » (1)

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Margaux L. on March 31, 2015
The « Positive Discrimination » (in United Kingdom) or « Affirmative action » (in the United States)  is  - according to Cambridge dictionary - « the act of giving advantage to those groups in society that are often treated unfairly because of their race, sex, etc. » This process of « giving preferential treatment » is especially used in employment and concern particularly minority groups like women, immigrant, disabled persons … In sum, to give more to those who have less. 

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Frederik Dietrich on March 31, 2015
Gender Bias in Natural Sciences.   Course: Comparative Social Policies Revisited by Gender By Frederik Dietrich     The idea for the following blog article stems from a contribution to the TED Blog from Sarah M. Demers. She is an Associate Professor of Physics at Yale University and is researching in the field of experimental physics.

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Frederik Dietrich on March 31, 2015
Gendering the Walefare State - Gender Discrimination within EU Pension Systems -   Course: Comparative Social Policies Revisited by Gender By: Frederik Dietrich    

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Frederik Dietrich on March 31, 2015
Abenomics and Traditional Japanese Gender Roles.   Course: Comparative Social Policies Revisited by Gender By: Frederik Dietrich       Prompted by an article in the Economist I decided to dedicate this blog article to the Japanese Case. In the article “Holding back half the nation”1 from March 2014 the authors describes a political agenda by prime minister Shinzo Abe that sets out to have far reaching consequences not only for the countries economy but also for its traditional gender roles. 

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Frederik Dietrich on March 31, 2015
Building the Caliphate – On Western Immigrants Joining the Islamic State   Course: Comparative Social Policies Revisited by Gender By: Frederik Dietrich    

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Frederik Dietrich on March 31, 2015
Sexual Harassment at Work     Course: Comparative Social Policies Revisited by Gender By: Frederik Dietrich    

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Juliette Fournil on March 31, 2015
During the Women's Week in France, the TV Channel Arte has proposed a number of film tackling the issue of the status of women. 678 is an Egyptian film directed by Mohamed Diab focusing on the sexual harassment of women in Egypt. I wanted to write something about it because I found it very interesting.   The plot :  

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Juliette Fournil on March 31, 2015
Just last month, Patricia Arquette denounced wage inequalities between men and women at the 87th Academy Awards. Last week, I had a drink with two friends (two men) : Thomas decided to take a tea, Julian and I took a beer. But when the waiter brought our drinks , he handed me automatically tea as if a woman does not necessarily drink beer (= as if beer were exclusively for men). These are just two examples. But this two examples shows that inequalities between men and women of any kind are still present everywhere. In everyday life.

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University of Potsdam, Germany
by Simon Bienstman on March 30, 2015
  Easter is coming. Some kids in Germany may want to find something else in addition to sweets when they go for their egghunt. Time for their parents to look for some nice presents. Good for them: many a company offers a helping hand when it comes to the question what to buy to finally hide. You only need to know if your kid is a boy or girl and you’ll find the perfect toy for it. Thanks to gender-marketing. In the following article I will shortly explain what hides behind this concept and comment on what to think of it.

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Reply to: ISLAMPHOBİA
2 years 5 months ago

Hey Cerumit,

the topic you are talking about in this article is a quite newsworthy one. In the last months islamophobia was a constant topic in the German media not least because of civil movements like Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West). Your article gives an introduction to the definition of islamophobia. Nevertheless your article is written without any reverence. In my opinion this is a little bit problematic because this topic is a delicate topic because their are many many different opinions. A theoretical foundation is necessary in my opinion to reach a pluralistic argumentation and a differentiated point of view. Maybe Erving Goffman's book "Stigma" as a theoretical foundation is interesting for you in this context.

2 years 5 months ago

The topic you have launched is a quite important one (for whole Europe) and is also a topic in Germany although the public discussion about Romani people is not as loud as in France or Czech, but still it exists. What you can see in the case of Romani people is how stereotypes are working in the context of ethnic group or minorities. In your article you focused mainly the educational system and the situation for Romani people. I think it could be quite interesting to have a look at the mechanisms behind. During our seminar we were talking a lot about stereotypes and how they are working in the context of gender differences and with the case of Romani people you have described I think it is possible to transfer the theories of stereotypes to ethnical minorities.

2 years 5 months ago

With writing about the UN Millennium Declaration I think you have chosen an interesting topic especially concerning to the development of education systems and gender equality. As you pointed out the Millennium Development Goals Reports are a value instrument to compare and observe the development in different countries and in a way to bring or maybe even force countries to a change or development. Your article has - in my opinion - a good structure and you are naming the important points of this ‘campaign’ and you are giving a good overview of the political situation in Pakistan. I am not sure if it is possible to say that the story of Malala Yousafzai is “the story of too many girls” since she attended a private school in Pakistan and her father is a teacher, so she was in touch with education in a quite privileged way compared to many other children for example in Pakistan. But anyway I think mentioning her in connection with the Millennium Development Goals is quite fitting because she is fighting for those goals.
When you say "In some countries, girls can only attend primary school and then they have to stay at home and learn how to become good wives." - which is an really important aspect in the context of female education in male dominated societies like e.g. Pakistan, I think it could be interesting to get an differentiated point of view to this topic to analyze why these values arise, how they are reproduced and why they are so persistent.

2 years 5 months ago

The topic you have chosen is a really interesting one! As there are still been made structural comparisons between eastern and western Part of Germany your article gives everyone the chance to have a closer view to the roots and the history of the employment structure in eastern Germany. I think it could be quite interesting to have a closer look at the process of socialisation in the GDR. As the regime was based on a clear ideology I think it would be quite interesting to analyse this ideology regarding your topic – the female labour force – with the goal to analyse how the ideology influenced the process of socialization and later the social structure of the society (labour force as a part of it). A differentiated view on that is therefore interesting because – as you already mentioned – there still is a difference between the eastern and western female labour force in Germany, so the impacts are still noticeable.

2 years 5 months ago

Dear Denisa,
woah, Jana Hybášková is quite an impressive person! Thank you for presenting her.

However, I don't really see a problem in your article. You introduce Hybášková - and you are doing that well - but what is the question you want to elaborate? I guess her work or way to this position could be analysed well from a gender or comparative politics view of point.

Have a nice day,
René

2 years 5 months ago

Dear Frederik,
thank you for your article. It is short, but straight on the point. I think you manage it very well to show the implications of the government's approach. Your argumentation is traceable and well supported by your literature.
Nevertheless, I think you could have used some literature to back your conclusion. Orloff, for example, examines very well the interactions between state policies and gender relations.
Have a nice day,
René

2 years 5 months ago

Dear Louise,
thank you for this article. As you write I was aware of the habits of draconian diets in order to obtain a "perfect" body. But that the dituation for models is that bad - often without support and forced by competition - was unknown to me. Hence, I think your article is very well researched and you manage well to describe the problematic.

However, I think it lacks a theoretical framework. Your description is a perfect basis to analyze the gender relations and the objectivation of the female body. How do these structures occur, how do they get reinforced?

Nevertheless, I am happy you raised my awareness on this topic!
Have a nice day,
René

2 years 5 months ago

Hi! Now I am curious to open a old women’s magazine: see the difference with magazines of today (pictures, articles). It shall be quite funny. Your article is pleasant to read, and shows how evolve the image of woman through the years. Now the modern woman is thin, maked up, sexy.. Even if we know (or if we want to reassure ourselves) that Photoshop exist... Girls in this magazine are kind of models for us. And of course they represent the good way to act. And some women’s magazine give a superficial picture. I agree when you said it’s a dangerous image, we have lauded the emancipation of women but we are not only consumers who buy products to be only pretty.

2 years 5 months ago

Hi! I found your article very pleasant to read and also very interesting. I remember we had a debate in class about maternity leave and I was surprised to discover the diversity of this policy in every country of Europe. As you said, “the States have tried to develop institutional pre-conditions for equality in the field of parental leave” which mean there is a gender inequality kept over the years by the social reproduction (Pierre Bourdieu, and also Karl Marx earlier had studied it). Women taking care of children is a norm of our society even it changes slowly. In France, the system had been evolving since January and tend to be more equality between the two parents. So maybe one day Europe will make a european law about it.

2 years 5 months ago

I enjoy reading your article too, and I agree with you when you said it’s “unpleasant” to read negatives articles about our generation. They give us this world, we grow up with new technologies and globalisation, even if the oldest of the Generation Y were born without Internet or computer. We live in a hyper connected world, and sometimes I am afraid to forget how live without being connected like in the cartoon Wall-e, when people discover again Earth and walk by themselves. But we also try to learn from the past, and as you quote our leitmotiv “Over my life, I believe I will enjoy a higher standard of living than my parents”. I think they are afraid of this virtual life and think we maybe forget the real one that’s why our generation seems to be lazy slackers..

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