State Councillor for Civil Society and Participation nominates Scientific Advisory Board

The State Councillor for Civil Society and Participation, Baden-Württemberg, Gisela Erler, has nominated a scientific advisory board that shall accompany the process of further strengthening citizen participation in political processes.

Erler argues that during her work as State Councillor, she alway sought and found inspiriation in the social sciences and wants to intensify exchange and cooperation between science and politics. The advisory board will work on citizen participation, direct democracy, social cohesion, european integration and political and civic education.


The advisory board consists of fifteen scholars from political science, communication science, management sciences and other social sciences. These are

  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Abels, University of Tuebingen
  • Prof. Dr. André Bächtiger, University of Stuttgart
  •  Prof. Dr. Frank Brettschneider, University Hohenheim
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Eith, University of Freiburg / Studienhaus Wiesneck
  • Prof. Dr. Adalbert Evers, University of Heidelberg, CSI
  • Dr. Rolf Frankenberger, University of Tuebingen,
  • Prof. Dr. Manuela Glaab, University Koblenz-Landau,
  • Prof. Dr. Cordula Kropp, University of Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dr. Arne Pautsch, University of Applied Sciences – Public Administration and Finance Ludwigsburg
  • Prof. Dr. Paul-Stefan Roß, Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dr. Roland Roth, University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, Centre for Corporate Citizenship Deutschland
  • Prof. Dr. Karen Schönwälder, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity
  • Dr. Uwe Serdült, Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau, Switzerland
  • Prof. Dr. Angelika Vetter, University of Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Wehling, University of Tübingen

How equipped are European Welfare States for the digital transformation?

Digitalisation leads to change – of capitalist production regimes and requirements for individuals. How equipoed European welfare States are for this change, was one of the questions my collegues and I adressed in a study for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

If production regimes change, this generates specific risks and problems to be compensated for by the state and society. However, whereas production systems change and adapt rapidly, redistribution systems of the welfare states are quite persistent. As a result welfare state structures come under pressure and have to adjust.

Here, digitalisation essentially has two different impacts on the welfare state.

  • Firstly, Industry 4.0. causes an external modernisation effect on welfare states. By altering production and disseminating information and communication technologies and automation, new demands arise for labour in general and for employees in particular. The processing of these changes and challenges need to be supported by the welfare state.
  • Secondly, the digitalisation of the welfare state redistribution regime is causing internal modernisation effects. This includes the digitalization of welfare administrations as well as the proliferation of internet connections and broadband expansion. It also includes the development of skills and abilities that digitalisation requires in the area of information processing.

But Countries Differ differ widely in the degree of digitalisation in the economy and society that they have already achieved, from setting up and expanding digital infrastructure to building digital human capital, integrating digital technologies into the economy and driving e-government.


Source: Own graph based on data from DESI 2016

One key thus is to establish high speed networks and to promote human capital. And countries differ widely in terms of their welfare state architecture and the core values.  This also affects equality and equity fundamentally. Whereas social-democratic welfare states highlight equality as a core value, the other types are much more stratified and unequal by default, as they foster market forces, or status respectively. So, different challenges occur. For instance, the issue of employment protection in times of decentralised, flexible and digital work in liberal, conservative, and social democratic states will require different solutions.

Types of Welfare Regimes according to Esping-Andersen


Source: Own Compilation following Esping-Andersen 1990 / 1998

If we bring both dimensions together – digitalisation and inequality – then we can see the following:


Source: Own Compilation based on DESI 2016 and Eurostat

By and large, there is a covariation of Digitalisation and Inequality. At least we can see that the most equal states are the most digitalized: the Scandinavian ones. These are especially the social-democratic welfare states. But how come? Does digitalization lead to equality or does equality lead to digitalization? No. To make sense out of this, we should return to the two dimensions of Modernisation. What we can see there is that those countries running ahead, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway are able to use digitalization to modernize internally, to push forward digital agendas (on local and state level). The higher external pressure, the more inequality.

Here, comparison reveals that Sweden has the lowest level of social inequality due to the high redistributive capacity of its social democratic welfare state. It is also proactively and consistently modernising its welfare state internally. Sweden can therefore be considered a pioneer of Welfare 4.0. Similarly, Estonia and the United Kingdom are taking the route of internal modernisation and benefiting very well from this in the areas of connectivity and e-government. However, stronger stratifying effects of post-socialist (Estonia) or liberal (United Kingdom) social security systems do not disappear. In fact, they are increasing if not accompanied by targeted welfare state measures. By contrast, the conservative welfare states of German and France are more strongly driven by external modernisation effects. The welfare state subsequently adjusts to the external challenges of Industry 4.0. Here, the question of recalibrating society’s internal redistribution of labour and welfare benefits becomes one of the key issues. The Mediterranean welfare states of Italy and Spain are facing the biggest challenges. external modernisation effects, especially on the labour market, lead to further stratification of these societies.

What can we learn out of this analysis? If we want to have social equity in the digital age, we need a welfare state that is able to proactively manage its responsibilities:

  • one that makes use of the opportunities of digitalisation for its internal modernisation,
  • offers coverage for the risks of digital external modernization,
  • and tries to better orchestrate its innovation policy with healthcare and labour market policies.

This includes the promotion of digital skills throughout the society, the connection to the internet as a basic human right and an active state that provides a (digital) infrastructure, digital strategy and administration and comprehensive investments in research and education as well as social and technical standards and data protection.


  • Daniel Buhr, Claudia Christ, Rolf Frankenberger, Marie-Christine Fregin, Josef Schmid & Markus Trämer (2016): On the way to welfare 4.0? : Digitalisation of the welfare state in labour market, health care and innovation policy : a European comparison. Berlin: FES, ISBN 978-3-95861-712-4; DIGBIB-Permalink =
  • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta (1990): The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta (1998): Die drei Welten des Wohlfahrtskapitalismus. In: Lessenich, Stephan/Ostner, Ilona (ed.): Welten des Wohlfahrtskapitalismus: Der Sozialstaat in vergleichender Perspektive. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus Verlag, pp. 19–58.

On the way to Welfare 4.0?

How does digitalization influence contemporary welfare states? How do they adjust towards Welfare 4.0? We – a group of political scientists from Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen – adressed these and other questions in a study for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.The study is now available online in German  (Auf dem Weg zu Wohlfahrt 4.0) and English (On the way to Welfare 4.0?)

We ecamined both the status of digitalization and its effects on the fields labor markets, health-care and innovation in seven European welfare states: Estonia, Francce, germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

We especially focus on the influences of both, external and internal modernization effects of digitalization on the welfare architecture. External effects are induced by the transformation of industrial production (industry 4.0) into the welfare system, while internal effects are caused by the digitalization of the welfare state itself. Depending on the mode of modernization we can find different (potential) effects on the question of social inequality.


Apparently, those countries do better in terms of equality who actively modernize their welfare state from within and who implement high standards of social welfare. The role model for this is Sweden.

For more results and insights, just download the study:

  • Daniel Buhr, Claudia Christ, Rolf Frankenberger, Marie-Christine Fregin, Josef Schmid & Markus Trämer (2016): Auf dem Weg zu Wohlfahrt 4.0? : Die Digitalisierung des Wohlfahrtsstaates in den Politikfeldern Arbeit, Gesundheit und Innovation im europäischen Vergleich.  Berlin:  FES,  ISBN 978-3-95861-687-5; DIGBIB-Permalink =
  • Daniel Buhr, Claudia Christ, Rolf Frankenberger, Marie-Christine Fregin, Josef Schmid & Markus Trämer (2016): On the way to welfare 4.0? : Digitalisation of the welfare state in labour market, health care and innovation policy : a European comparison. Berlin: FES, ISBN 978-3-95861-712-4; DIGBIB-Permalink =

In addition to the comparative study we also examined the seven welfare states in more comprehensive case studies:


Unlike Twins – Conference Program online.

In March 2017 the bi-annual conference of the DVPW Section “Comparative Politics” “Unlike Twins?! Comparing Democracies and Autocracies.” will take place in Tübingen.

Having received many excellent proposals for panels and papers, the panel convenors and the local organization team have compiled the conference program for March 2017. There will be 17 sessions with more than 70 presentations from internationally reknowned scholars of autocracy and democracy.

The conference will take place at the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen in the Rooms of the Theological Faculty, Theologicum, Liebermeisterstraße 12-18, D 72076 Tübingen from 15-17.March 2017.

You can either have a look at the short program as pdf-document or just scroll down for an overview of panels and presentations that deal with aspects of comparing autocracy and democracy:

Panel 1 – “Parliamentary Representation in Non-Democratic Regimes”

Chairs:    Katharina Buck, University of Bremen &  Esther Somfalvy, IFSH – Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy. Presentations by:

  • Anja Osei (University of Konstanz): “Glass Half Full or Half Empty? Government-Opposition Interaction in the Authoritarian Legislature of Togo”
  • Daniel Stockemer (University of Ottawa): “(Democratic) Regime Change and the Representation of Women in Parliament”
  • Irene Weipert-Fenner (PRIF – Peace Research Institute Frankfurt): “Detectorand Agent of Change: The Autocratic Parliament in Mubarak’s Egypt”
  • Esther Somfalvy (IFSH): “Do Different Kinds of Regimes Represent Their Citizens Differently? Evidence from the Parliaments of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic”
  • Kristin Eichhorn (Technical University Chemnitz): “Electoral Competitiveness and Turnout in Autocracies”

Panel 2 – „Macht Religion politische Systeme autokratisch?“ (Double Panel)

Chairs:    Gert Pickel, Universität Leipzig & Oliver Hidalgo, Universität Münster. Presentations by:

  • Oliver Hidalgo (Münster): „Religion als ‚autoritäres‘ Gegengewicht zur Demokratie? Theoretische und ideengeschichtliche Zugänge“
  • Christoph Trinn & Thomas Wencker (Heidelberg): “No State is an Island: Inter-Regime Cooperation in Transnational ConflictsSusanne Pickel (Duisburg): “Gods Own Country: Religion, politische Religion oder Religiosität als Spoiler of Democracy?
  • Marlene Mauk (Mainz): „Macht Religion Menschen autokratisch?“
  • Gert Pickel (Leipzig): „Verhindert der Islam Demokratisierung? Perspektiven aus der Sicht der politischen Kulturforschung“Cemal Öztürk & Toralf Stark (Duisburg): „Das ‚türkische Modell‘ in der Krise: Sind religiöse Individuen in der Türkei ‚genuine Demokraten‘? Eine Überprüfung  der Kompatibilität von ‚Islam‘ und ‚Demokratie‘ auf Grundlage der politischen Kulturforschung“
  • Jörg Baudner (Osnabrück): “From Religious to Populist Party (and Back)?”
  • Ludger Viefhues-Bailey (Syracuse): “Religion for the Illiberal State: The Example of Religious Liberty Laws in the U.S.”
  • Julia Gerlach (Leipzig): „Wie der Tempelberg in Jerusalem: Heilige Orte und russischer Diskurs um die Annexion der Krim“
  • Fabian Poetke (München): „Politische Anreize zur religiösen Aneignung der liberalen Demokratie: Das Fallbeispiel westdeutscher Bildungspolitik 1945-1965“

Panel 3 – “Same, Same but Different? Comparing the International Promotion of Democracy and Autocracy”

Chairs:    Julia Leininger, DIE – German Development Institute & the German Research Network External Democracy Promotion & Anna Lührmann, V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg, SWE. Presentations by:

  • Christoph H. Stefes & Betcy Jose (University of Colorado, Denver): “Contesting and Shaping International Norms: The Neglected Side of Autocracy Promotion”
  • Agnes Cornell (Aarhus University) & Anna Lührmann (University of Gothenburg): “The Role of Political Context in the Allocation of Democracy Aid”
  • Pavel Satra (Leuphana Universität, Lüneburg): “Autocracies’ Counterintuitive Delegation Preferences to International Human Rights Organizations”
  • Julia Bader (University of Amsterdam) & Christine Hackenesch (DIE – German Development Institute – DIE, Bonn): “What Drives Authoritarian Party to Party Interaction? The Chinese Communist Party and African Ruling Parties”
  • Tina Freyburg (University St. Gallen) & Julia Leininger (DIE – German Develop-ment Institute, Bonn): “Democracy Promotion Needs Democrats: How Societal Values Matter”

Panel 4 – “State Spending and Taxation in Democracies and Autocracies: Comparing Patterns of Resource Management“

Chairs:    Thomas Richter & Christian von Soest, beide GIGA – German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg. Presentations by

  • Christian von Haldenwang (DIE – German Development Institute, Bonn): “What Impact Does Political Regime Durability Have on Public Revenue Collection?” and “Does the political resource curse affect public finance? The vulnerability of tax revenue in resource-rich countries”
  • Ane Karoline Bak Foged (Aarhus University): “Taxation, Revenue Bargains and the Effect on Accountability Institutions in Developing Countries
  • Anne Mette Kjær & Marianne Ulriksen (Aarhus University): “The Unexplored Side of Fiscal Contract Theory: Revenue Bargains and Public Policy Provisions in Africa”
  • Thomas Richter (GIGA – German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg): “Taxation and the Formation of Political Institutions: An Explorative Analysis”
  • Rachel Beach (University of Aarhus): “Benin & Togo: the Unlike Twins of Revenue Mobilization in West Africa“
  • Solveig Richter (University of Erfurt): “Competing for Power and Money. State Capture and Limited Political Competition in Transition Countries”

Panel 5 – “Dimensions of Authoritarianism” (Double Panel), Intertional Aspects, Identity, State and Regime

Convenors & Chair:   Ahmad Maati & Oliver Schlumberger, University of Tübingen; Andreas Schedler (CIDE, Mexico City / University of Tübingen).Presentations by:

  • Marianne Kneuer, Thomas Demmelhuber, Tobias Zumbrägel, Raphael Peres-son Natalia Afanasyeva (University of Hildesheim & University of Erlangen): „Regional Organizations as Transmission Belt and Learning Room of Authoritarianism: Comparative Perspectives and Empirical Evidence”
  • Steven Heydemann (Smith College, Northampton): “Democracy Promotion, Institutions, and Authoritarian Resilience”
  • André Bank (GIGA – German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg): “Authoritarian Learning and Transnational Diffusion”
  • Morten Valbjørn (University of Aarhus): “What Is So Sectarian about Sectarian Politics? Identity Politics and Authoritarianism in a New Middle East”
  • Ahmad Maati (University of Tübingen): “Exclusivist Identity Formation, the State, and Authoritarianism“
  • Oliver Schlumberger (University of Tübingen): Authoritarian Resilience and the State in the Arab World“

Panel 6 – “Challenging the Churchill-Hypothesis Policy-Performance in Democracies and Autocracies in Comparison” (Double Panel)

Chair:       Stefan Wurster, Technical University Munich. Presentations by:

  • Henriette Müller (New York University, Abu Dhabi): “Understudied Parallels: Political Leadership and Economic Growth Across Regime Types”
  • Tobias Rommel (University of Zurich): “Political Regimes and Foreign Investment Liberalization”
  • Marlene Jugl (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin): “Small Is Democratic – or Monarchic? Population Size, Regime Type and State Performance”
  • Sebastian Stier (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences): “Internet diffusion and Regime Type: Temporal Patterns in Technology Adoption“
  • Eda Keremoglu-Waibler (Universität Stuttgart): “Does Consultative Decision-Making Matter for Citizens’ Welfare in Authoritarian Regimes?”
  • Sebastian Ziaja (Research Center for Distributional Conflict and Globalization, Heidelberg University): “The Democratic Civil Peace Revisited: Assessing the Predictive Power of Political Regime Indicators”
  • Romy Escher & Melanie Walter-Rogg (Universität Regensburg): „Does the Choice of the Democracy Measure Matter in the Analysis of the Relationship between Democracy and Global Public Good Provision? The Case of Climate Policy Performance”
  • Aron Buzogány (BOKU Vienna, Institute of Forest, Environmental, and Natural Resources Policy): “Comparing Clean Energy Transitions over the Regime Divide”

Panel 7 – “Bridging Comparative Politics and Area Studies”

Chairs:    Patrick Köllner, GIGA – German Institute of Global and Area Studies / University of Hamburg  & Andreas Mehler, Arnold Bergsträsser Institute and University of Freiburg. Presentations by:

  • Patrick Köllner (GIGA, Hamburg), Ariel Ahram (Viriginia Tech), Rudra Sil (Uni-versity of Pennsylvania): “Comparative Area Studies: What It Is, What It Can Do?”
  • Christian von Soest (GIGA, Hamburg) & Alexander Stroh (University of Bayreuth): “Comparing across World Regions: Assets and Pitfalls”
  • André Bank (GIGA, Hamburg): “Comparative Area Studies and the Study of Middle East Politics after the Arab Uprisings”
  • Sophia Schubert (FU Berlin) & Alexander Weiß (HSU Hamburg): “Bridging Political Theory, Comparative Politics and Area Studies: A Plea for Global-transcultural Democracy Research”

Panel 8 – “Why Wrong Is Right: Justifying Exclusion and Repression in Autocracies and Democracies”

Chairs:    Maria Josua & Julia Grauvogel, GIGA – German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg. Presentations by:

  • Aurel Croissant, David Kuehn, Tanja Eschenauer (Heidelberg University): “The ‘Dictator’s Endgame’: Explaining Military Behavior in Nonviolent Anti-Incumbent Mass Protests”
  • Dag Tanneberg (University of Potsdam): “What is dead may never die … How Restrictions and Violence Defeat Direct Action Campaigns”
  • Jonas Wolff (PRIF – Peace Research Institute Frankfurt): “Justifying Civic Space Restrictions: Does Regime Type Matter?”
  • Holger Zapf (University of Göttingen): “Framing Protest: Delegitimizing Contention in Tunisia before and after 2011”
  • Ani Sarkissian (Michigan State University): “Defining ‘Normal’ Religion: How State Bureaus of Religion Help Governments Manage Opposition and Retain Political Power”

Panel 9 – “Disentangling the State-Regime Nexus” (Double Panel)

Chairs:    Thomas Altmeppen & Mirjam Edel, University of Tübingen Presentations by:

  • Thomas Altmeppen (University of Tübingen): “Blinded by the Light? Michael Mann and the Problem of Conceptual Confusion in the Study of States and Regimes”
  • Dan Slater and Christopher Haid (University of Chicago), Ferdinand Eibl (King’s College, London), and Steffen Hertog (LSE, London): “War Makes the Regime: Rebellion Type and the Origins of Authoritarian Regime Types”
  • Maya Tudor (Oxford University): “Disentangling States and Regime Sequencing in Postcolonial India and Pakistan”
  • Julia Leininger (DIE – German Development Institute, Bonn): “Eroding Democracy by Building the State: A Comparative Analysis of Mozambique”
  • Rachel Sigman, (V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg): “State Capacity Types and Regime Outcomes”
  • David Anderson (Aarhus University): “Political Dilemmas in State-Building: Why Germany and Argentina Finally Settled for Democracy while Thai Democracy is Still Struggling“
  • Alexander Schmotz (King’s College, London): “Revolution Gone Awry: Popular Uprisings, Regime Breakdown, and State Failure“
  • Matilde Thorsen, Alexander Taaning Grundhold, and David Ulrichsen (Aarhus University): “Motivated and Able to Make a Difference for the Poor? The Compli-mentary Effects of Democracy and State Capacity in Promoting Human Develop-ment”

Panel 10 – “Welfare-Production-Regime Triangle: Comparing Welfare State and Capitalism in Democracies and Autocracies”.

Chairs:    Daniel Buhr & Markus Trämer, University of Tübingen. Presentations by:

  • Markus Trämer (University of Tübingen): “Which institutional complementarities underpin authoritarian economies and welfare systems? China, Vietnam and Laos”
  • Aline Grünwald (SOCIUM – Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy Bremen): “The historical roots of old age pension systems in democratic and nondemocratic regimes around the world”
  • Hans-Jürgen Bieling (University of Tübingen): “Varieties of Financialization – on the structure, role and mode of operation of finance in contemporary European capitalism”
  • N.N.

Panel 11–“Rule of Law vs. Rule by Law: How Do Autocracies & Democracies Govern?”

Chairs:    Mirjam Edel & Rolf Frankenberger, University of Tübingen. Presentations by:

  • Michael Hein (Humboldt Universität, Berlin): “The Codification of Constitutional Entrenchment Clauses in Democracies and Autocracies”
  • Jörn Knobloch (University of Potsdam): “Rule of Man Not Rule of Law: Practical Foundations of Authoritarian Regimes and the Impact of Law”
  • David Andersen & Agnes Cornell (Aarhus University):“Political Regime Dynamics and State Impartiality”
  • Mirjam Edel (University of Tübingen): “Which Role of Law? Conceptualizing Legal and Judicial Aspects of Political Repression”

 Panel 12 – “Concept Formation and Explorative Methods: What and How Can MethodsContribute to Regime Classification in Comparative Politics?

Chairs:    Toralf Stark, Universität Duisburg-Essen & Rolf Frankenberger, University of Tübingen. Presentations by:

  • Sebastian Ziaja (Heidelberg University) & Martin Elff (ZU Friedrichshafen)“Latent Dimensions, Latent Classes and Method Factors in Political Regime Data”
  • Seraphine F. Maerz (Central European University, Budapest): “The Conditions of Authoritarian Persistence: Classifying Autocratic Regimes by Applying Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis”
  • Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach & Oliver Schlenkrich (Universität Würzburg): “The State-Regime Nexus: A Political Culture-Perspective”
  • Ani Sarkissian (Michigan State University) & Karrie Koesel (University of Notre Dame): “Religion and the Authoritarian Toolkit”

Policy Making and Legitimation in Autocracies

In addition to repression and co-optation, authoritarian regimes use redistributive and legitimizing strategies in order to secure their survival. In a new article my collegues Aron Buzogány, Patricia Graf and I conceptualize and discuss different opportunities of legitimation through policy-making that can be used in autocracies. We exemplify this concept by outlining and comparing autocratic legitimation strategies in innovation policy. Legitimation through policy-making is a double-edged sword, as it includes both potentials and risks for legitimation.

  • Aron Buzogány, Rolf Frankenberger & Patricia Graf (2016): Policy-Making und Legitimation in Autokratien: Das Beispiel der Innovationspolitik. Totalitarismus und Demokratie 13 (2), S. 257–280.

Tübingen and Petrozavodsk- strengthening linkages

The twin cities Petrozavodsk (Karelia, Russian Federation)  and Tübingen (Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany) recently celebrated 25 years of their partnership. There are close relations between the municipal governments, civil societies and citizens, who are engaged in strengthening this vital exchange.


The sculpture “Fishermen”, placed at the Shore of Lake Onega,might symbolize many things, but indeed stands for the power of people working together in order to achieve their goals. In this way, it might also stand for the puropse of a project we set up in October, when we added a new dimension to the partnership between Tübingen and Petrozavodsk.In a joint workshop with social scientists, civil society representatives and representatives of the two municipalities of both cities discussed their perspectives on Participation, Civil society and local politics. This workshop was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service and took place in Petrozavodsk from 25 to 29 October 2016.

The workshop brought together more than thirty researchers and practitioners in the area of citizen participation, NGOs and state-society-realtions. It aimed at deepening the ties between actors from both cities as well as at exchanging knowledge and discussing future joint projects. In four sessions, the participants discussed topics as:

  • Social Innovation, Participation and the Quality of Life
  • Participation in the implementation of municipal policies
  • Power, State, and Society – research in and insights from sociology and political science
  • Participation in the humanitarian sphere: Experiences of inter-municipal cooperation.


Also, the pariticipants from Tuebingen held open lectures at the Petrozavodsk State University on topics of their work, e.g. on the chances of municipal cooperation, local participation, social innovation and political culture.


One other main part of the workshop was dedicated on projects in civil society aiming at inclusion and participation of citizens. These are the sites where social innovation takes place and where solutions for many problems of everyday life are adressed by citizens, volunteers, professionals and scientists. Therefore we visited social institutions and exchanged experiences with practitioners in the area of healthcare and social work.

The workshop ended in a roundtable discussion where future steps of participation were not only discussed, but fixed. A first step will be a publication presenting the results of the workshop that will be published with Nomos-Publishers. In a second step we will develop a joint research plan and apply for funding for a joint cross-regional and inter-municipal comparative project in the fields of social innovation and participation.

Municipalities in a comparative perspective.

In a new publication I discuss theoretical and methodological issues of comparing Municipalities in Germany and Russia (or more in genereal, if you want, in any cross-regional comparison of cases). Drawing on experiences in cross-regional comparisons of Russia and Venezuela (Frankenberger & Graf 2011; Frankenberger & Graf 2013) as well as Russian and German Municipalities (Frankenberger & Kiener 2015), I argue that it is a too narrow analysis, if you only focus on local political order. It might be more useful to widen the perspective in two ways. First, the systemic context has to be taken into account. This is not only true for formal multilevel governance but also for informal institutions and politics.

Informal Politics and relations between actors on the municipal level are often mor important than formal power relations and party affiliations. Especpecially when it comes  to conrete projects. One solution to the problem in comparing municipalities from different regions could then be to use structuralist and functionalist approaches as heuristics: What institution and what actor doe fulfil which functions in the respective context? How do they interfere/interact with political culture, political economy and the broader political system? Even if this heuristics might not lead to a rigorous case design as MDSD or MSSD, the insights of the comparison are far more systematic and generalizeable than they would be by doing single case studies

  • Rolf Frankenberger (2016): Ungleiches im Gleichen. Theoretische und methodische  Herausforderungen des Vergleichs von Kommunen in Deutschland und Russland. Jahrbuch des Föderalismus. Baden-Baden: Nomos, S.137-150.