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CfP: Diffusion of Ideas


12th Annual Conference: ESPAnet 2014 Oslo. 4-6 September, 2014
«Beyond the Crisis in Europe New Opportunities for reconciling sustainability. Equality and economic robustness»
Organisers: NOVA & the Oslo and Akershus University Colleges of Applied Sciences, Norway

The deadline for applications is 12 March 2014!

Stream coordinators: Dr. Frank Sowa (IAB, Institute for Employment Research)/Dr. Stefan Zapfel (ifes, Institute for Empirical Sociology at University Erlangen-Nuremberg), Nuremberg, Germany

Since the last decades of the late twentieth century European welfare states are confronted with a significant increase in unemployment. Politically, not only economic and structural changes as well as adaptation deficiency of the labour market actors were blamed but the existing direction of social policy and the development of the state administration. The igniting criticism of the welfare state led to a gradual realignment of social policy and its accompanying administrative apparatus.

Since then trends of Europeanization in the labour market policy with the buzzwords activation (welfare to work) and new public management influence social policy reform in historically different developed welfare states. This leads to a convergence tendency of European welfare regimes and the emergence of increasingly homogeneous structures in the social policy area. However, the relationship of activation, new public management, and specific national policies, bureaucratic organizations, and local practices of social administration remained unclear and is solely paid little attention in the present research literature. Against the background of a changed understanding of the welfare state and its functions in European industrialized nations the identification of the effects of these reforms remains relevant to social scientific research. We like to discuss whether the implementation of activation and new public management could be understand as a paradigm shift within a homogenous globalised social policy or as an incremental change accompanied by processes of path dependency and gradual approximation of different national welfare regimes.

Furthermore, we are interested in the analyses of the interpretation of activation and new public management on different levels: To what extend do divergent welfare regimes in Europe converge (at the national political level)? How do different, nation-state dominated institutions and organizations change at the meso level, being the central implementation instances of the revised social policy agenda? And to what extend are the practices of professionals of local social administrations such as government officials, agency personnel, consultants, job placement officers being transformed at the micro level?

The stream invites both, internationally comparative papers and national case studies focusing on developments at any of these levels. It particularly welcomes contributions connecting the implementation of activation and new public management at different levels. We are especially interested in paper proposals that derive from historically divergent welfare regimes and deal with the questions of homogenisation, heterogenisation, and hybridisation of social policy under globalised circumstances.

The organisers invite you to submit paper proposals for the conference ( Paper proposals should be linked to the conference stream “Diffusion of Ideas”. Abstracts should be about 500 words and provide the following information:

1.      Title
2.      Proposed stream
3.      Contact details: author(s), affiliation, postal address, phone number and e-mail address
4.      Main issue to be raised, analysed or discussed in the paper, including a brief background (about 100 words)
5.      Approach (theoretical / conceptual or empirical) and type of methodology (qualitative / case study or quantitative) (about 200 words)
6.      Main thesis, or findings and conclusion expected from the analysis (about 200 words)

Send your abstract (as word or pdf attachment) to &


The deadline for submitting abstracts is 12 March 2014.
Stream coordinators will rank all abstracts.
The organisers will inform successful applicants by 9 April 2014.
The deadline for paper submission 4 August 2013.

About ESPAnet
The Network for European Social Policy Analysis is an association of academics involved or interested in the analysis of social policy in Europe:

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