Institute of Political Science

Doctoral program of the Hans-Böckler foundation „International comparative research on education and education policy in welfare states“

Educational policy is a research field that has recently received much attention. In what may be termed the classical perception of education as the development of the individual and the realization of “education as a civic right” educational reform is social reform (Opielka 2005). Educational policy may thus be perceived as part of the welfare state arrangement whose failure is a significant cause of poverty (Allmendinger/Leibfried 2003; Schmid 2002; 2008). In the meantime, a change of paradigms has taken place. Education and knowledge are today regarded as vital resources for the further development of a strong economy in Germany (Fuchs/Reuter 2000: 14f.). Therefore, the most recent reforms in the education sector aim at safeguarding economic performance for global competition. As a consequence of this process of change, national educational policy as an expression of „national educational sovereignty“ (Mitter 2006) is increasingly drawn into the sphere of influence of inter- or trans-national actors in so called “new educational arenas” (Martens/Rusconi/Leuze 2007). Behind these structures complex interrelationships may be perceived composed of traditional national education policy actors, but also of intermediaries such as trade unions, associations and representatives of civil society (Amos/Radtke 2007; Soguel/Jaccard 2008). The rising demands for educational policy correspond with the development of new governance structures, characterized by a change from legally-based definitions to the coordination of contractual agreements (Schrader 2008). The corresponding actions are guided by universalized rationality concepts as well as globally diffused norms and values (Meyer/Ramirez 2000).

The doctoral program focuses on an international comparative perspective of the relations between various types of welfare states, steering and governance-practices and structures and processes of selected educational areas (schools and universities, adult and continuing education, physical and health education). Theoretically, the doctoral program with its focus on international comparative studies draws on two concepts: first, the older and meanwhile revised model of welfare states (Esping-Andersen 1990, Lessenich 1995), and second, the newer concepts of steering and governance in the education system (Altrichter et al. 2007; Kussau/Brüsemeister 2007).

During its second period, the research themes and questions focus on three key areas:

Doctoral candidates participate in a structured program marked by an interdisciplinary research-oriented curriculum guided by a close advisorship.

Funding by the Hans Böckler Foundation:

1st period: 2009 - 2012

2nd period: 2014 - 2017

Supervision and scientific advice by:

Prof. Josef Schmid, political science

Prof. Karin Amos, educational science

Prof. Josef Schrader, educational science

Prof. Ansgar Thiel, sociology of sport