6AAYEU23 German Gender Politics
Credit value: 15 credits
Module tutor: Dr Kai Oppermann
Assessment: 3 hour exam (100%)
Teaching arrangements: Two hours per week
The aim of this module is to introduce students to European welfare states and explores how welfare state policies shape gender relations in Western Europe focusing particularly on Germany. As we will quickly discover, even within this group of advanced industrial democracies, welfare policies – and even the meaning of “welfare” – differ significantly from country to country. Some of the policies we will examine were explicitly designed to target women. Others are supposed to be gender neutral, but end up having a gendered impact because of how gender roles in these societies are structured.
The module has four main sections. We begin with a theoretical and historical overview, asking ourselves what gender and the gendered welfare state is and how it evolved. Here we pay particular attention to the concept of welfare state regimes and their gendered consequences, the idea that we can categorize countries based on their gendered welfare policies. The second section of the module looks more closely at the German welfare state. We examine its historical origins and the way in which gender relations are inscribed into its politics. We will look closely at conceptions of motherhood and care and how these are intertwined with historically specific labour market politics. The third section focuses on recent welfare reforms in Europe and its impact on the German welfare state. We investigate how race, class and gender intersect in welfare policy and also look at challenges to the welfare state more broadly. The last section concludes by looking at current German family politics in the light of the literature we explored throughout the course and asks whether current changes mark a shift in the conservative German gendered welfare regime.
Pierson, Christopher and Francis G. Castles (eds) (2006) The Welfare State Reader. Cambridge: Polity Press.
O’Connor, Julia, Ann Shola Orloff, and Sheila Shaver (1999) States, Markets, Families: Gender, Liberalism and Social Policy in Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rasavi, Shahra and Shireen Hassim. 2006. Gender and Social Policy in a Global Context: Uncovering the Gendered Structure of the “Social”. New York: Palgrave.
Knijn, T., Ostner, I. and Schmitt, Ch. (2006). Men and (Their) Families: Comparative Perspectives on Men’s Roles and Attitudes Towards Family Formation. In J. Bradshaw and A. Hatland (eds), Social Policy, Employment and Family Change in Comparative Perspective. (pp. 179-197). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.