Institute of Political Science

John Berten

Research Officer / Lecturer

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Institute of Political Science
Research Unit Comparative Public Policy
Melanchthonstraße 36, 72074 Tübingen

Room 016




John Berten studied social sciences (BA) and sociology (MA) at Bielefeld University. During his studies, he was part of the DFG-funded research group FLOOR, which investigated the spread of social cash transfers in the Global South (principal investigator: Professor Lutz Leisering). Afterwards, he received a PhD fellowship of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS; a joint doctoral school of the University of Bremen and Jacobs University). He has submitted his PhD, titled “Laboratories of social knowledge: How international organizations constructed social policy through numbers, 1919-2015”. During his doctoral studies, he was a visiting scholar at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and at ACTORE, Antwerp University (Antwerp Consortium on the Organization of Rulemaking and Multi-level Governance in Europe). Before joining the University of Tübingen, John worked as a research officer at Bielefeld University.

Research Interests

John does research in social policy and (international) political sociology. He is particularly interested in the role of international organizations in (global) social policy, social policy in the Global South, and the role of knowledge and ideas in policy-making, which includes drawing on science & technology studies as well as interpretive policy analysis. At present, he focuses on a project that investigates anticipatory practices and the role of future horizons in policy-making at the transnational level.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles, peer-reviewed

Berten, John. 2019. ‘Failed indicatorisation: Defining, comparing and quantifying social policy in the ILO’s International Survey of Social Services of the Interwar Period’. Historical Social Research 44(2), pp. 175-201.

Berten, John and Leisering, Lutz. 2017. ‘Social policy by numbers. How international organisations construct global policy proposals’, International Journal of Social Welfare 26(2), pp. 151-167.

Articles in Edited Volumes

Berten, John. 2020. ‘Knowing at a distance: How international organizations produce transnational knowledge objects of social policy’ in Trans|Wissen (eds.), Wissen in der Transnationalisierung: Zur Ubiquität und Krise der Übersetzung, pp. 257-281. Bielefeld: transcript.

Berten, John. 2017. ‘Evaluation and simulation: Producing evidence in the global politics of social cash transfers’ in Annabelle Littoz-Monnet (ed.), The politics of expertise in international organizations: How international bureaucracies produce and mobilize knowledge, pp. 148-166. New York: Routledge (Global Institutions series).

Other Published Work

Weible, Katrin, Böger, Tobias, and Berten, John. 2015. ‘FLOORCASH-Basic. The basic dataset on social cash transfers in the global South’, Version 2, Research Project FLOOR (FloorCash). Bielefeld University. Available