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Ongoing Research Projects

Governance in hybrid regimes: Business, State and Civil Society in Russia

Team: Katharina Bluhm, Sabine Kropp, Claudius Wagemann; Markus Siewert, Ulla Pape, Stanislav Klimovich; Anastasia Dmitrichenko, Elena Reck

Duration: 2018-2021
Funding: DFG

The project «Governance in hybrid regimes: Business, State and Civil Society in Russia» examines the role of Russian and international companies in the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Russia. It studies the forms of interaction / governance that emerge between companies and state as well as non-state actors. Of particular importance is the question of how these governance patterns can be interpreted against the background of path-dependent developments and the emergence of novel forms of business-state cooperation. The analysis mainly focuses on the branches of the oil and gas industry, trade as well metallurgy in the regions of Volgograd, Tyumen and Kemerovo. In terms of methodology, the project combines a case study design with a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA).

PREWORK. Young precarious workers in Poland and Germany

Team: Katharina Bluhm, Vera Trappmann; Jule-Marie Lorenzen; Denis Neumann; Alexandra Seehaus; Torsten Winkler

Duration: 2016-2019
Funding: DFG Cooperational Research: Beethoven, Projekt: UMO-2014/15/G/HS4/04476

The PREWORK ("Young precarious workers in Poland and Germany: a comparative sociological study on working and living conditions, social consciousness and civic engagement") research project seeks to propose new theoretical insights into the extent to which precarious working and living conditions influence the emergent forms of social, class and political consciousness, individual life strategies and collective civic engagement of young workers in Poland and Germany. Taking as a case example the situation of young precarious workers, the research seeks to advance the relational, historical and interpretive approach to precarity in which the social boundaries of the concept are determined by institutional features of national varieties of capitalism, cultural and political discourses of “normal employment” as well as the practices of social actors.

Eastern Europe’s New Conservatives: Varieties and Explanations from Poland to Russia

Team: Katharina Bluhm, Mihai Varga

Duration: from 2015
Funding: DFG, budgetary resources

The major goal of the book project and conference scheduled for February 9-10, 2017 is to explore the communalities and varieties in the new conservatism of Eastern Europe and Russia. We argue that in spite of the increasing global and European attractiveness of the new nationally-oriented social conservatism, the post-communist realm still presents a specific bundle of ideas, political recipes, drivers and causes that needs to be better understood precisely because it is an influential part of a greater development. We ask about what conservatism here means, under what circumstances conservatism becomes (and under which ones it does not) a front for illiberal thinking and policies, about how conservative ideologies translate into politics, and why it has become mainstream ideology in some countries, while in others, not. We are also interested to what extent historic path dependencies and the transition paths towards market economy and democracy matter.

The making of the mature entrepreneur: life course perspective on entrepreneurship in older age in Germany and Poland

Team: Justyna Stypińska, Annette Franke, Jolant Perek-Bialas, Konrad Turek

Duration: 2017-2019
Funding: DFG

Mature entrepreneurship is gaining momentum. In both, numerical as well as in socio-political and economic terms. This research intends to examine the process of becoming an entrepreneur in later life with relation to previous career paths in order to establish how life course experiences determine the shift to self-employment. The research methodology adopted in the project is an integrative qualitative approach, where in-depth interviews with older entrepreneurs and experts are carried out in two countries – Germany (West and East) and Poland. They represent diverse approaches to mature entrepreneurship and life courses due to differences in welfare regimes, what allows for cross- and intra-country comparisons. The research will contribute in an innovative way to the study of mature entrepreneurship in ageing societies in the context of contemporary academic and political debates about the alternative models of economic activity of older adults. Moreover, the project aims to provide empirical evidence for studying the variations in modern life courses and their institutional embeddedness.

Gesellschaftliche Ordnungsvorstellungen religiöser Eliten in Südosteuropa

Team: Jochen Töpfer, Juna Toska, Nenad Zivkovic, Till Krenz

Duration: September 2015 - September 2018
Funding: DFG

During the last decade, public attention in Europe towards factors promoting integration or conflict in a society shifted to cultural and religious issues. Additionally, a plurality of expectations and demands were ascribed to religions and organizations representing the various religious denominations – precisely in which way they contribute to a modern, integrative societal order, especially in societies of Eastern Europe.

Beside ascriptions, what about religion itself? Central source of interpretation of (traditional) religion for today are religious dignitaries. They are accepted as normative multiplicators within their group and additionally influence wider parts of society by public statements and symbolic behavior. Taking their perspective, the project "Religious Elites and Societal Organization in South-Eastern Europe" in a first step asks for discourses which dominate within relevant religious communities in the region with regard to their relationship towards the society, the state, and other religions. Secondly, we ask if these attitudes do entail potential for integration and understanding, or rather potential for conflict in plural societies? Applying a mixed-method technique, attitudes of religious leaders in the states of Slovenia, Macedonia and Albania are identified and a structure of typical opinions about the subject is generated. These types of attitudes are analyzed subsequently according to their integrative or conflicting potential.

The project is funded entirely by DFG.

Poverty as subsistence: The World Bank and pro-poor land reform in Eurasia

Team: Mihai Varga

Duration: from 2012 (Habilitationsproject 2012-9)
Funding: Fritz Thyssen Stiftung; Self-financing

This project studies the World Bank's largest anti-poverty intervention, the "propertizing" land reform enacted in Eurasia prior to and after the fall of communism. The research consists of archival research of World Bank data and reporting on Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, and Ukraine, and ethnographic fieldwork in Romania and Ukraine. The research helps to answer questions about the outcomes of the land reform program and particularly about the links between land reform and the development of the informal economy.