All posts by Karsten

Radical and extreme right wing parties and the working class in Germany.

Titelblatt-Dikussionbeitrag_PartidosAuthor: Karsten Krüger
Year: 2019
This article is only available in Spanish.

Abstract: The countries of the European Union show a clear trend towards the acceptance of radical or extreme right options such as the. In Germany, as in Spain, this political phenomenon has appeared later than in other European countries. However, a series of German studies shows that the positions and attitudes typified as belonging to the extreme right have been present in society still for a long time. These attitudes are not limited to the political spectrum of the radical and extreme right, but also standing at the centre of the society.
Consequently, the working class and the trade unions are also sensitive to this political option. In the analysis of the phenomenon of the radical and extreme right, the theory of the losers and winners of modernization has special relevance not only referring to the objective socio-economic or cultural situation, but also to the subjective perceptions of individuals (such as pessimism respect to their personal situation or the fear of loss of control).
However, in relation to socio-economic changes, this theory shows itself limited. In the best of cases, it explains why the social strata identified as the “losers” have a greater tendency towards these parties, but not why persons form other social strata chose this option. Another point that should be criticized of the winners-losers theory is that they do not sufficiently emphasize that this is a long-term phenomenon, which at least in the Federal Republic of Germany dates back to the 1950s. The irrelevance of the extreme-right political parties in parliamentary life in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s did not signify that the respective attitudes had disappeared from West German society, but were simply camouflaged as a tendency within the dominant conservative parties or remained a very minority position in the extra-parliamentary opposition. This article, which is not an empirical study but is based on a review of specialised literature, documents of the radical right party AfD and analysis of the votes of the AfD in the recent elections, speaks about this and more.

Dual studies in university higher education

Titelblatt-Dikussionbeitrag_Estudios dualesAuthors: Karsten Krüger & Alba Molas & Laureano Jiménez
Year: 2019
Abstract: One of the major expressions of this structural change is the curricular reform towards a three-cycle structure (the so-called Bologna Process) that has been implemented in European countries. One of the objectives was the higher labour orientation at the bachelor, contributing to a increase the employability of graduates, which implies a more pronounced vocational orientation. This trend is reflected in the creation of specific higher education programmes with long periods spent at the work place, such as dual studies (e.g., Germany and Austria), alternating programmes (France, ‘Alternance Programmes’), or industrial doctorates/masters programmes (Spain). In recent years, efforts to develop and implement dual studies in higher education have intensified, as shown by the cases of England, Scotland and the Basque Country (Spain).
This article will discuss the question whether the university is prepared to create dual study programs and implement them by asking:
a) Which is the role of the academic tutor and the professional mentor in companies, the two key figures to guarantee the quality of dual studies.
b) Which are the difficulties in developing dual programmes within the framework of official degrees.
These issues are addressed through work carried out in two projects of the European programme Erasmus+. After the short definition of what is understood as dual studies, we emphasize the role of academic tutor and professional mentor to exemplify the increasing complexity of managing such programmes ensuring high quality of learning and we summarise the possibilities to extend dual studies in the Spanish university system, using the experience obtained from the strategy for dual studies in the Basque Country.

Technology and Society – Society and Technology

Editor: Karsten Krüger
Year: 2006
The review is only available in German and Spanish
Resumen: The traditional paradigm of technological progress, apparently uninfluenced by values and interests, following only rationalist principle, has been challenged in recent decades by social technology research pointing out the influence of the social context on technical innovation and the interdependencies between technology and society. Technology development, its implementation and application – in short technization – is a process that does not take place in isolation from the social context. The multi-layered innovation processes in the fields of information and communication technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology contribute to profound social changes, but at the same time social conditions influence the path of technological development.
The articles presented here are divided into three sections: 1) Rammert and Werle give a general overview of the state of discussion in the technology studies; 2) Sorj and Welsch discuss the social impact of the Internet; and 3) Vitores & Domenech; Chaparro & Locatel; Gataife and Foladori & Invernizzi deal with the interaction of technology and society in different areas: penitentiary methods; agriculture; biotechnology; and nanotechnology.
The selection of articles seeks to build bridges not only different socio-scientific approaches, but also between different socio-cultural areas of the shaping world society.

Del invento a la innovación social. Una propuesta conceptual.

Titelblatt_Innovacion social
Author: Karsten Krüger
Year: 2019
‘Social innovation’ has become a central term in the European Union’s policy and the respective social science research programs. However, the term is interpreted very differently, making it difficult to identify a common denominator. According to an EU report from 2013, there is little in common between the different approaches that use this term about what means ‘social innovation’.
This uncertainty and definitional inconsistency is the motive of this essay to expose examples to expose how different approaches understand social innovation, and, then, to work out, from a sociological perspective, a general definition separating clearly social innovation from the notions of social change and invention.
In the next step, the question will be studied to what extent the analytical concepts (landscapes, regimes and socio-technological niches), which were developed by social technology studies, are also suitable for analysing social innovations. By the example of organic agriculture, the essay explores their applicability, draws lines of convergence and suggests new research lines
It is argued that the concepts of the social technology studies require modifications in order to analyse processes of social innovation. It also points out that technology studies do not pay sufficient attention to the political aspects. Political science and the micro-political approach of organizational theory offer promising concepts for examining social negotiation processes in which different actors with different and often divergent interests influence the innovation process.

Trade Union Strategies in the EU to address trade union members’ and workers’ growing propensity to vote for right wing populists and nationalists

cover-publ-study-trade-union-strategies_enAuthors: Pablo Sanz de Miguel, in cooperation with Julia Frías, Maria Caprile, Carsten Jørgensen, Szilvia Borbély, Katalin Bácsi, and
Karsten Krüger
Year: 2019
Abstract: Right wing populism and nationalism, while not a new phenomenon, has in the recent years taken hold in many countries, including several within the European Union; sometimes as opposition, sometimes as government. Often, the ideological mixture of welfare chauvinism and nationalism is intended to appeal to the working class, with different degrees of success.
Membership of a Trade Union does not always mean, like it used to, immunity to these ideas, as these parties have abandoned their explicit neoliberal policies (at least in public discourse) and have taken what traditionally were leftwing issues such as social justice or redistribution to appeal to what they perceive as the ‘losers of globalisation’.
For this purpose, the study analyses several EU countries with different industrial relations (Spain, Denmark, Germany, and Hungary), welfare states and Trade Union history and density. It provides a clear definition of ‘National Populist’ or Populist Radical Right Parties, bringing conceptual clarity under the current academic concepts and theoretical framework used to study these issues. It displays the state of play in each country, identifying the key actors and parties, and what strategies are undertaken by Trade Unions to prevent their members from voting for these political options.
Published online by: European Economic and Social Committee []

European knowledge society, new social risks and universities

Authors: de Gier, Erik & Warmerdam, J.
Year: 2009
Abstract: This book integrates the various country reports about (1) the discourse of the Globalised Knowledge-based Society in six EU countries Austria, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain; (2) the perception of (new) social risks in these countries; and (3) the role and functions of universities. The six country reports were elaborated in the course of the project NESOR – New Social Risk in the European knowledge society and higher education. The European Union cofounded this project through the Socrates programme.
Although in advance a common format of the country reports was agreed, the final output of reports proved to be rather diverse. To some extent this is caused by the fact that each country finds itself in a different developmental stage and speed on the road to the Globalised Knowledge-Based Society and also by the fact that actual discourses and policies are deeply embedded in national cultures. So, this trans-national report will not be a true and tough comparative exercise in the strict methodological sense of the word. What it does offer is an in-depth insight into national debates and policies and above that, also some common felt problems with respect to the Globalised Knowledge-Based Society. What you can expect in the remaining part of this report is not first of all a more or less descriptive summary of the various national reports, but an attempt to develop a sort of coherent transnational perspective of what means Globalised Knowledge-Based Society.

Role and Profile of higher education institutes – Comparative Report


Authors: Baumgartl, Bernd & Mariani, Michele

The book resumes national studies carried out in the course of the project NESOR (New Social Risk in the European knowledge society and higher education). This project, cofounded by the European Union through the Socrates programme, analysed the question about the role and profile of Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) in the European knowledge society. It provides a rich picture on the state-of-the art of the implementation of the Bologna Process and asks for future role of EU higher education institutions in the European knowledge society, especially with respect to social inclusion and sustainable economical development.
After a few years from the launching of the Bologna Process, it has produced different impacts on the different national educational systems, along with different economical and social consequences. Furthermore, the transition towards the European Knowledge Society is proceeding at quite a different pace among the participant countries partly in response to the diverse degrees in which knowledge-based activities are present in the national economies and the importance concede to knowledge as a long-run growth factor.
The transformation of the labour markets has deepened inequalities, between least skilled workers and high-skilled ones. This creates new social risks and calls for proactive strategies also by Higher Education Institutions. To face contemporary challenges, contribute to social cohesion and sustainable economical development, EU higher education institutions must further engage as active agents in the creation of the future society. Curricular adaptations, lifelong learning, assistance in the transition of the education system from education to learning, provision of equal opportunities for all, are all relevant and challenging tasks which definitely are part of the contemporary role of EU Universities.

Investigación e Innovación Responsable. Un elemento de la gobernanza del complejo científico-tecnológico europeo

Author: Karsten Krüger
Year: 2018
[Responsible Research and Innovation. An Element of the Gobernance of the European scientific-technology Complex]
There is only a Spanish version avaibable.
Resume: The concept ‘Responsible research and innovation’ is a new element in the steering of the European scientific-technological complex. This essay discusses this concept and frames it in the current science and innovation strategy of the European Union studying essentially relevant political documents and article about this topic.
The first chapter presents the thesis of the retreatment of the state as central steering and regulation actor in crucial societal area. The second chapter gives an overview of works about historical changes in the scientific-technological complex. It is followed by an analysis of the restructuration of the scientific and technical complex in the European Union, which is accompanied by a mayor role of enterprises and economic associations in the design and management of the public funded research. In the fourth chapter the concept RRI is presented as a potential central steering element in the scientific-technological complex. It could evolve to an instrument to accredit research organisations, regulating so the access to public research funds. Here it is argued that the concept RRI reflect that it is impossible to evaluate the scientific-technological complex based on short or midterm results, due to the complexity of the transfer process of scientific knowledge into social relevant and usable knowledge and the respective high uncertainty of the scientific research. In stead, RRI propose to evaluate the quality of the innovation process itself.

Long-Term Care Services in 4 European Countries. Labour Markets and other aspects


Editors: Karsten Krüger & Erik de Gier
Year: 2011
Abstract: One of the European Union’s major concerns is its ageing population, and the need to develop a social and economic strategy able to meet this demographic challenge. One of the key issues is the care for elderly and dependent people. This question goes to the core of the European Social Protection system. But it is difficult to define exactly what care and care services for dependent people means. Traditionally a distinction has been made between health care and social care. For several reasons, these boundaries are blurred and a more integrated perspective comes up advocating the concept of long-term care, defined by the OECD as “the organisation and delivery of a broad range of services and assistance to people who are limited in their ability to function independently on a daily basis over an extended period of time”.
Long-term care systems are characterised by the diversity of the providers, of the institutional and organisational settings, and of the sources of funding. With regard to social care, the EUROFOUND made a rough distinction between waged carers and non-waged carers.
Only this distinction indicates yet that long-term care systems have complex configurations, combining different types of formal care with a wide range of informal care.
The long-term care systems of the EU-member states are under pressure from four quarters:
a) The improvement in the health of European populations has increased life expectancy. The over 65-year and the over-85 age groups have grown considerably in recent decades and will continue to do so in the future. Inevitably, this raised and will raise the demand for care for older people.
b) The family structure has changed all over Europe, towards a model characterised by smaller double breadwinner families. And as female members have traditionally taken responsibility for family care, the growing incorporation of women in the labour market increases the demand for formal carers.
c) The EU population in working age is decreasing, thus raising competition for labour between different economic sectors. This can be mitigated, but not resolved, by immigration. But low paid work and low labour status combined with high responsibilities make the care work not very attractive.
d) The retrenchment of the welfare state since the 1990s and the increasing public budget restrictions in EU-member states have made the funding of high quality national care systems even more difficult.
The multiple demographic changes exert pressure on the care service sector to respond to the increasing demand for professionalised care services. There is a lack of qualified labour to satisfy this demand, and there are strong public budget restrictions as well.
The problem of providing high quality care service is related on the one hand to the increase in the demand for care, and on the other to the labour shortage. But at the same time, long-term care is one of the sectors in which the most employment is created.
This book brings together articles by authors from four European countries (Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain) which reflect trends in the search for new combinations between institutional, family and community agents to provide high quality long-term care services. The articles also show the diversity of the national landscapes of care services as well as the variety of possible solutions.