Educational Sciences

The Institute of Social Work and Social Policy (ISP) continued in 2011 and 2012 to develop its focus on the advancement of young scientists: its doctoral training group “Contradictions in societal integration. On the transformation of social work” (Professors Bossong, Kessl, Klammer) of the Hans Böckler Foundation ( is now in its second year. Connecting with this research agenda, another graduate programme entitled “Living in the transformed welfare state: Target-group specific effects of reform and everyday practices” (Professors Kessl, Klammer, Ullrich), to be conducted in cooperation with the universities of applied sciences in Düsseldorf and Cologne (, was approved in 2012 under NRW federal state funding of cooperative graduate programmes. From 2013, this will allow 12 early stage researchers on the Essen campus alone to pursue their scientific work, financed by scholarships or employment.
Much of the empirical research at the institute continues to be thematically located in two of the UDE’s Main Research Areas: in “Urban Systems”, a successful application was made for the DFG project “Urban (re)production of social work” (Professors Dirks, Kessl, Lippelt). This project deals with the reconstruction of spatial practices of social services professionals in two urban case studies. Meanwhile, the institute is contributing to “Transformation of Contemporary Societies” with its generation theory project, “Generation 9/11?” (Professors Schieck, Ullrich), which explores the question of whether there is a generation in Germany that defines itself along the lines of this historic world event. Other projects in this area are “Flexible female breadwinners” (Hans Böckler Foundation; Professor Klammer), which deals with families in which women earn most of the family income, and the Mercur project “Alternative forms of poverty reduction: the new economy of compassion. Stocktaking and exploration” ­(Professors Kessl, Oechler). The core of this project is a representative investigation of the use and organizational structures of the institutions of a new economy of compassion (e. g., food banks, soup kitchens and welfare stores).
Outside of the Main Research Areas, a nationwide survey in child and youth welfare research was conducted on the subject of “Supervision and guidance by regional providers of youth welfare services” (Professors Mühlmann, Nikles) with institutions and members of two professional associations. Another study examined “closed” accommodation in residential youth care (Professors Kessl, Koch, Polutta). Comparative research on the welfare state also looked at job market insecurities among young adults in Germany and France as part of the joint European project GUSTO (Professors Ahles, Klammer, Wiedemeyer).
International research cooperation continued and intensified in 2011 and 2012, especially with Lobachevsky State University Nizhnij Novgorod in Russia (research visit, Professor Bossong)
and the Royal Holloway, University of London (guest researcher, Professor Kessl).
In addition to the local and regional activities of several members of the institute in political consulting, particular attention should be drawn to Professor Ute Klammer’s chairship of the federal government’s Expert Commission on Equality.