Description of the Research Project

The D-A-CH research project The Negotiation of Educational Spaces in Residential Childcare 1970-1990: An Interdisciplinary Comparison of Transformation Processes in Austria, Germany and Switzerland examines the development and dynamics of residential child and youth care in the 1970s and 1980s in three selected welfare regions: Tyrol/Vorarlberg (A), Hesse (D) and Zurich (CH). In the wake of the 1968 protests, criticism of residential child and youth care emerged in all three regions, but the subsequent reform initiatives turned out differently.
The project examines comparatively the respective negotiation processes around changing educational spaces. The research is based on archival documents and expert interviews with contemporary witnesses. A relational and action-oriented theory of space gives perspective to the research, and the respective welfare landscapes and welfare regimes mark the contextual conditions.
Questions guiding the research are among others:
What dynamics can be discerned in the selected welfare regions and what reciprocal effects do these dynamics generate locally, regionally, nationally, and transnationally? Which structural and institutional legacies, which fields of discourse and actor constellations determine degrees and speeds of transformation?
The aim of the trilateral cross-border project is to provide an adequate and differentiated description of a hitherto little researched transition period, which will yield new insights into the recent history of residential child and youth care as well as provide methodologies for researching welfare state transformations.