Welfare-oriented education policy - Wind of change in the relationship of education and social policies in Germany
Institute for Political Science Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster Münster, Germany
The political debates about the German welfare state are characterized by a reorientation in the setting of priorities: The German Agenda 2010 based on principles like activation, capabilities and preventive measures, determine the discussions over the organization of a sustainable welfare system. Whereas other European welfare states already include education policy as a component of their welfare system, in Germany a perspective change to a more preventive social investment state can be recognized only during the last years. In this regard education policy receives more attention both from politicians as well as from political scientists. These developments lead to the hypotheses that Germany is characterized by increasing cross-sectional policies in the education and social policy sector with the purpose to reach a new balance between "old and new social risks". This assumption includes two central questions that are examined in my research project:
1. What characterizes a welfare-oriented education discourse in Germany?
2. Did this discourse lead to a change in the relationship of German education and social policy?
To investigate these research questions three variables have been elaborated in a preliminary investigation to explain the developing change in Germany: a changing understanding of the welfare state; a structural change in society; the influence of Europeanization and globalization.
These variables are the basis for the main investigation - a cross sectional analysis of the education policy in four federal states. By means of a qualitative document analysis, sociopolitical references in the respective education policies are discovered. The scientific interest refers to the question to what extent the education policy interests of the German federal states converge with or rather diverge from the welfare policy concepts of the German Federal Government. The research project aims to develop indicators which create a qualitative measure for the shifting relationship between education and social policy.