Call for Papers: The Politics of Wellbeing in Germany Annual workshop of the German Politics Specialist Group (GPSG) of the PSA, University of Westminster, London, Friday 7 October 2011.
The politics of wellbeing in Germany
It is widely held that happy citizens are a manifestation of successful democratic governance. Contented citizens ‘prove’ the legitimacy of a democratic system and its responsiveness to social and economic change. Particularly in late capitalist societies, where tensions may arise over the unequal distribution of the benefits of economic growth, high levels of individual subjective wellbeing are seen as key to collective social stability. Problems may also arise for transition democracies, where citizens face economic hardship, physical upheaval and the supplanting of socialised value systems while the new system beds down. The FRG has faced two major upheavals of this kind: first as a transition democracy in the post-war period and second as a polity faced with the integration of a population undergoing transition following unification. Since its foundation as a corrective to the Weimar and National Socialist regimes, the FRG has a demonstrated keen interest in citizens’ evaluations of its democratic structures and values. It has routinely measured citizens’ objective and subjective wellbeing since the late 1970s. Now, in common with other European states, Germany faces challenges which can be expected to raise the stakes of citizen happiness for governance while at the same time creating an environment which threatens to undermine the bases of that happiness, at least as they are traditionally understood. Key to the elaboration of the welfare state in post-war years, ideas of citizen happiness associated with state provision and/or regulation are increasingly coming under strain as welfare state retrenchment and financial crisis impact on government budgets.
The workshop examines the contemporary debate on citizen wellbeing in Germany. It explores the relationship between the citizen and the state in historical and contemporary context. It questions, for example, the notion of the state as a provider of citizen wellbeing; the relationship between citizen wellbeing and malaise; how best to measure citizen wellbeing; and wellbeing in times of economic crisis. We would like to invite contributions examining different aspects of this debate and their application to Germany, including, but not restricted to the following topics:
§ Conceptualising wellbeing for the German context
§ Happiness and sadness in contemporary Germany
§ Wellbeing and memory in Germany
§ Wellbeing in times of economic crisis
§ Wellbeing and welfare state retrenchment
§ Quantitative and qualitative measures of wellbeing/objective and subjective wellbeing
§ The territorial politics of wellbeing in Germany (e.g. east-west; urban-rural, etc)
§ Wellbeing and poverty
§ Gender and inter-generational experiences of wellbeing
§ Material wellbeing and social capital
§ Wellbeing and legitimate governance
§ Comparative perspectives on wellbeing in Germany.
Please send abstracts of not more than 200 words to Patricia Hogwood [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> by the deadline of 2 September 2011
We welcome interdisciplinary approaches and contributions from early career researchers.
If you are a PhD student or completed your PhD no more than eight years ago, please note on your application that you are an early career researcher.
Subject to submissions received, the best early career researchers’ contributions will be considered for inclusion in a special edition of the biannual interdisciplinary electronic journal Austausch, co-sponsored by GPSG.
The University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Registration number: 977818 England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW.
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html