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Professor for social policy, organisation and society

Institute of Social Work and Social Welfare
Faculty of Human Sciences (FB 1)
University of Kassel
34109 Kassel

The chair explores developments and problems in the design and infrastructure of current welfare states, and this by addressing both institutional logics and organizational arrangements. The rationale underlying this approach is that, while such programs and services are embedded in distinctive national policies and frameworks, they are often managed and/or delivered by particular sets of (semi-) autonomous agencies which may be public, non-profit or commercial in nature; hence, organizational factors are crucial for the implementation of public policies. Social work settings are a case in point. Current research projects concentrate on manifestations and outcomes of increasingly hybrid and partially marketised systems of welfare provision, from a local, national, and international perspective.

Major Research areas

  • Comparative political sociology of mixed welfare systems
  • Work, professions and organisations in the welfare state
  • Changing governance in social and health care sectors


Personal Address Univ. of Kassel, FB 1, Institute of Social Work and Social Services, Department of Social Policy, Law and Sociology Arnold-Bode-Str. 10, 34109 Kassel, Germany, * (49) 561 809-2923

Personal biography

from April 2009:
Professor at the University of Kassel (social policy, organisation and society)

2007-2009 (March):
Visiting Professor at the University of Wuppertal

Lecturer at the School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh

2006 (spring):
Research Fellow at the «Direction de la recherché de la CNAV», Paris

Research Fellow of the German Research Association (DFG); invited to: University of Montréal, University of Kent

Guest Professor at the «Institut d’Études politiques» (‘Sciences Po’, Paris/Nancy)

Senior Researcher in a European research project coordinated by the Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire pour la solidarité et l‘innovation sociale, Université Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium

Lecturer and associate professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Duisburg-Essen

Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Trier

Researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of Marburg



The Fate of Social Modernity. Western Europe and Organised Welfare Provision in Challenging Times. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (forthcoming).

(with I. Harsløf, S. Innvær, D. Jenssen, & W. Bekken, eds), Hybrid Social Work. Contested Knowledge, Fragile Collaboration, and Social Citizenship. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar (forthcoming).

(with S. Betzelt, S. Parschick und A. Albert). Organisierte Zerrissenheit. Emotionsregimes und Interaktionsarbeit in Pflege und Weiterbildung [Organised disruption. Emotional regimes and casework in elderly care and further education] Bielefeld: transcript 2023

(with H. Turba). Kinderschutz kompakt. Regulierung, Organisation, Wandel [Child protection in essence. Regulation, organisation, change]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2023

(hrsg. mit R. Jungmann und K. Serrano Velarde), Krisenmanagement und staatliche Organisationen [Crisis management and public organisations]. Leviathan Special Issue (51) 41

(with Apelt, M., V. von Groddeck, R. Hasse, U. Meyer, M. Wilkesmann and A. Windeler, eds.), Handbuch Organisationssoziologie [Handbook of the sociology of organisations]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2020 (contributions online)].

(with S. Betzelt, ed.), Angst im neuen Wohlfahrtsstaat. Kritische Blicke auf ein diffuses Phänomen [Anxiety in the new welfare state. Critical perspectives on a diffuse phenomenon]. Baden-Baden: Nomos 2018.

(with W. Vogd, ed.), Mutationen des Krankenhauses. Soziologische Diagnosen in organisations- und gesellschaftstheoretischer Perspektive [The evolving hospital. Sociological assessments through the lens of organisational and social theory]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2016.

(with F. Wilke), Private Vorsorge als Illusion. Rationalitätsprobleme des neuen deutschen Rentenmodells [Private saving for old age as an illusion. Rationality problems in the new German pension model] Frankfurt/New York: Campus 2014.

(with H. Turba), Organisierter Kinderschutz in Deutschland. Strukturdynamiken und Modernisierungsparadoxien [Organised child protection in Germany. Structural dynamics and paradoxes in modernisation]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS 2014.

(with H. Brandenburg and B. Werner), Soziales Management in der stationären Altenhilfe. Kontexte und Gestaltungsoptionen [Social management in residential care. Contexts and Options]. Bern: Huber 2014.

Die Infrastruktur des postindustriellen Wohlfahrtsstaats. Organisation – Wandel – gesellschaftliche Hintergründe [The infrastructure of the postindustrial welfare state. Organisation, change, background]. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2013.

(with T. Marthaler, P. Bastian and M. Schrödter, ed.), Rationalitäten des Kinderschutzes. Kindeswohl und soziale Interventionen aus pluraler Perspektive [Rationalities of Child Protection Systems. Children’s well-being and social interventions from a plural perspective]. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2012.

(with A. Evers and A. Klein, ed.), Bürgergesellschaft als Projekt. Eine Bestandsaufnahme zu Entwicklung und Förderung zivilgesellschaftlicher Potenziale in Deutschland [The vision of civil society. The state of the art of the development and promotion of civic action in Germany]. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2009.

The culture of welfare markets. The international recasting of pension and care systems. New York/London: Routledge (Advances in Sociology) 2008.

Die Dynamik organisierter Beschäftigungsförderung. Eine qualitative Evaluation [The dynamics of work integration. A qualitative evaluation]. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2005.

Disorganisierter Wohlfahrtskapitalismus. Die Reorganisation des Sozialsektors in Deutschland, Frankreich und Großbritannien [Disorganised welfare capitalism. The reorganisation of the social sector in Germany, France and Britain]. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2004.

Solidarität im Vorsorgestaat. Der französische Weg sozialer Sicherung und Gesundheitsversorgung [Solidarity in the precautionary state. The French way to social security and health care provision]: Frankfurt/New York: Campus 1999.

Die Organisation der Solidarität. Normative Interessenorganisationen der französischen Linken als Auslaufmodell mit Zukunft [The organisation of solidarity. Normative interest groups of the French left as a ‘phase-out model’ with a future]: Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag 1997.

(with S. Voswinkel and S. Lücking), Im Schatten des Fordismus. Industrielle Beziehungen in der Bauwirtschaft und im Gastgewerbe Deutschlands und Frankreichs [In the shadow of fordism. Industrial relations in the catering and construction industry of France and Germany]: München/Mering: Rainer Hampp 1996.

(with H.-G. Brose and S. Voswinkel), Die Regulierung der Deregulierung. Zeitarbeit und Verbändestrategien in Deutschland und Frankreich [The Deregulation of regulation. Temporary work and interest group strategies in Germany and France]: Opladen: Leske & Budrich 1994.

Recent international articles and book chapters (selection)

‘Coopetition-based’ network governance – mechanisms and pitfalls: the example of the Ger-man rehabilitation industry, in: Keast, R., J. Voets, J.W. Meek, and C. Flynn (eds.), A Modern Guide to Networks. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2023.

The (de-)institutionalisation of empowerment. The complex remake of child and family welfare arrangements in Western Europe. Social Work & Society 20(1), 2022.

(with G. Moro) (Dis-)Empowerment in context: A proto-evaluative perspective on welfare reform agendas and their impact, North-West and South, in: European Societies 23(5), 2021.

(with R. Lüth) Disorientation in a capricious welfare market. The case of the German pension system, in: Ledoux, Clémence, van Hooren, Franca & Karen Shire (eds.), The Dynamics of Welfare Markets. Private Pensions, Domestic and Care Services in Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

(with H. Turba) Schizophrenic sensemaking as (non-)response to institutional ambiguity: The case of the German child protection industry, in: Human Service Organizations 44(1), 2020.

L’économie sociale et solidaire, un état des lieux réaliste sous l‘angle allemand et international, in: Informations sociales (199), 2019.

The post-corporatist rehabilitation system in Germany: High potential, critical moments, in: Harsløf, Ivan, Ingrid Poulsen & Kristian Larsen (eds.), New dynamics of disability and rehabilitation: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2019.

Let’s count and manage – and forget the rest. Understanding numeric rationalization in late modern welfare states, in: Historical Social Research 44(2), 2019.

Publicness in times of market accountability: Lessons from a changing hospital industry in Germany, in: Public Policy and Administration (34)1, 2019.

(with J. Culebro) Paradoxical internationalization. Regulatory reforms in the Mexican healthcare system through the lens of European experience, in: Politics & Policy (46)4, 2018.

Responsabilidad paradójica en el suministro de servicios públicos. El caso de la atención hospitalaria en Alemania y un experimento mental sobre México, in: Gestión y Política Pública 26 (número especial) 2017.

(with J-L- Oh) 독일 노인장기요양제도의 발달 - 사회적 현대화 관점을 중심으로The development of the long-term Care system in Germany. Social modernization with limitations, in: Korean Journal of Gerontological Social Welfare (72)1, 2017 (in Korean language).

Social services in post-industrial Europe. An incomplete success story and its tragic moments. In: Martinelli, Flavia, Anneli Anttonen & Margitta Mätzke (eds.), Social Services Disrupted – Implications and challenges for a crisis-ridden Europe. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2017.

(with S. Betzelt), German Angst in a liberalized world of welfare capitalism. The hidden problem with post-conservative welfare policies. In: Social Policy Review 29, ed. by Menno Fenger, John Hudson and Catherine Needham. Bristol: Policy Press, 2017.

(with J. Lange & M. Märker), Caught in organized ambivalence – Institutional complexity and its implications in the German hospital sector, in: Public Management Review (19)7, 2017.

Governance and performance in a ‘marketized’ nonprofit sector. The case of German care homes, in: Administration & Society (49)2, 2017.

(with J. Breimo, H. Turba, O. Firbank & J.T. Sandvin), Networking enforced – Comparing social services’ collaborative rationales across different welfare regimes, in: Social Policy & Administration (51)7, 2017.

Liberalizzazione del corporativismo ? L’evoluzione del welfare mix tedesco in une prospettiva internazionale, in: Sociologia e Politiche Sociali (18)1, 2015.

A ‘world culture’ of institutional ambiguity? Comparing the reorganization of hospital care in Germany and Mexico, in: Current Sociology (63)3, 2015.

(with J. Culebro), La tensión entre la fragmentación y la integración en la reforma a los sistemas de salud. Un estudio comparativo entre Alemania y México, in: Región y sociedad (61), 2014.

(with T. Brandsen), Third sector-state partnerships: A short overview of key issues in the debate, in: Public Management Review (16)8, 2014.

(with F. Streicher), Régulations publiques territoriales et quasi-marché. L’organisation du «care» à domicile et ses effets dans trois modèles d’«État Social», in: Boucher, Manuel & Mohamed Belqasmi (eds.), L’État social dans tous ses états. Rationalisations, épreuves et réactions de l’intervention sociale. Paris: Harmattan 2014.

(with M. Märker), Medicine in management or medics in management? The changing role of doctors in German hospitals, in: International Journal of Public Management Review (27) 5, 2014.

In Futile Search of Excellence. The ‘muddling through agenda’ of service-providing ‘social enterprises’ in contemporary Europe, in: Denny, Simon & Fred Seddon (eds.), Social Enterprise: Accountability and Evaluation around the World, London: Routledge 2014.

State-Third Sector partnerships, in: Sarah Harper, & Kate Hamblin (eds.), International handbook on ageing and public policy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2013.

Processing institutional change in public service provision. The case of the German hospital sector, in: Public Organization Review (13)3, 2013.

(with J. T. Sandvin), The many rationales of welfare-to-work regimes, in: Comparative Journal of Social Work (7)2, 2012, Editorial, [online journal].

(with B. Champetier), L’européanisation des régimes de care aux aînés. Apports d’une méthode ouverte de comparaison, in: Sociologie (3)3, 2012.

A fuzzy picture: Social citizenship in post-corporatist Germany, in: Evers, Adalbert & Anne-Marie Guillemard (eds.), Social policy and citizenship. The changing landscape, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012.

(with L. Gardin and M. Nyssens), Quasi-marketization in domiciliary care: Varied patterns, similar problems? In: International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (31)3/4, 2011.

Creeping marketization and post-corporatist governance: The transformation of state–nonprofit relations in continental Europe, in: Phillips, Susan D. & Steven Rathgeb Smith (eds.), Governance and regulation in the Third sector, London: Routledge 2011.

Thinking Beyond Borderlines. A German gaze on a changing interface between society and the voluntary sector, in: Voluntary Sector Review (1)2, 2010.

Towards disorganised governance in public service provision? The case of German sickness funds, in: International Journal of Public Administration (33)2, 2010.

Social care going market. Institutional and cultural change regarding care services for the elderly, in: Comparative Journal of Social Work [online journal] (5)1, 2010.

Recent research

Constraints and potentials: Sociological perspectives on public action in 21st century welfare states

This is an overarching theme which guides sociological analysis on welfare state activities in Germany and other countries in Western Europe, focusing on what fosters and endangers such activities in the light of popular expectations concerning social welfare provision writ large (bearing in mind that welfare state institutions serve other functions as well). Work under this theme comprises different studies which, while often being based on empirical projects, are theory-oriented and explore what social (or public) administration and public agencies in this universe do and can do to meet extant challenges (e.g. climate change; crisis management; right-wing populism) – in part by liaising with forces rooted in civil society. The analysis accounts for movements of social change and related political trends, including the role of influential elites. Recent publications include papers on public crisis management (Leviathan, special issue) and a monograph dealing with the future of social modernity (forthcoming in 2024).

Social welfare provision under stress. Regulation, organisation, and mentalities

Research in this field, conducted in cooperation with Prof Sigrid Betzelt (HWR Berlin) and further research associates, examines prominent mentalities and their background in various fields of social welfare provision, given widespread economic risks for service providers (enhanced competition); pressures to comply with complex external expectations concerning the quality of services; and managerialist governance at organisation and field level, translating, among other things, into poor employment conditions. A project completed during 2022 has focused on associations between emotional pressures and attitudes towards different stakeholders within organisations providing elderly care and special vocational training, looking at both internal dynamics and the encounter with the wider environment (including groups). Results from case studies based on different types of qualitative data (organisations’ documents, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, expert interviews) show that internal and external dynamics are interrelated and combine to impact on attitudes and practices of solidarity between employees, with vulnerable user groups, and sometimes also vis-à-vis social groups perceived as competing for external support (as well). Regulatory norms in the fields under study put strain on organisational practices and mental orientations in ways amenable to permanent stress within relevant settings of human service provision which is prone to provoke deficits in service delivery.

The (dys-)functionality of hybrid social projects

This research explores the development, problems, and outcomes of social projects run by hybrid organisations and/or within hybrid organizational fields, including where the ambition is to empower disadvantaged citizens. The empirical case consists of support activities and networks addressing homeless people and other marginalised groups. The interest lies in understanding the background and ramifications of these projects, including the approach of initiators/managers; the perspectives of involved marginalized citizens; and the (re)actions of relevant stakeholders. In practical terms, the research is based on field studies run in two German cities, with one being embedded in the evaluation of a ‘housing first’ programme. Part of the project involves a cooperation with colleagues from OSLOMET University.

Further lines of research, based on past field work

Child and family welfare services in flux: Changing contexts and paradoxical modernisation

- recent paper: ‘The (de-)institutionalisation of empowerment. The complex remake of child and family welfare arrangements in Western Europe. Social Work & Society 20(1), 2022, online’

The reorganisation of healthcare: Institutional ambiguity and its implications

- recent paper: ‘Coopetition-based’ network governance – mechanisms and pitfalls: the example of the German rehabilitation industry, in: Keast, R., J. Voets, J.W. Meek, and C. Flynn (eds.) A Modern Guide to Networks. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2023

Fragile welfare: Uncertainty and tension management in old age provision

- recent paper: (with R. Lüth) Disorientation in a capricious welfare market. The case of the German pension system, in: Ledoux, C, F. van Hooren & K. Shire (eds.), The Dynamics of Welfare Markets. Private Pensions, Domestic and Care Services in Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021, 89-214.