All posts by Karsten

Reflexiones sobre competencias

Authors: Karsten Krüger & Alba Molas

Year: 2023

Only available in Spanish

The term “competence” has played and continues to play a prominent role in shaping education policy strategies both at the level of the European Union and its Member States. As is often the case with terms situated between the political and the academic, the term remains highly ambiguous, leading the authors to reflect on the approach. The reflection starts from the different origins of the concept and the difficulties of clearly delimiting it from another key term, skills, but also from the term knowledge. Its ambiguity is criticised as opening the way to the creation of an infinite number of competences and sub-competences.

The implementation of the competency-based approach is framed within political and social changes such as globalisation, neoliberal policies, the transformation of the welfare state and the abandonment of Fordism as a reference point for the organisation of work. Its use allows for greater flexibility in adapting education and training systems to the changing demands of labour markets. In an education and training system such as the German one – oriented more towards holistic educational principles – this change of reference has provoked strong debates around the holistic principle of vocational education and training (Berufsprinzip) and ‘Bildung‘.

However, the competence approach deploys its full socio-political effect only in interaction with the social tendencies towards the s subjectification of work and the individualisation of society, which are exemplified by the demands for self-optimisation that are increasingly imposed on individuals (employees) in capitalist society.


División digital, polarización y teletrabajo

Author: Karsten Krüger

Year: 2022

Only available in Spanish

The starting point of this essay is that the social and digital divide is also reproduced in the field of telework, as indicated by the different approaches to measuring the teleworkability of occupations. These approaches focus only on the jobs themselves, neglecting working conditions at home. The full extent of the telework social and digital divide can only be detected by taking into account this aspect, i.e. the physical and socio-economic environment of the telework location..

This working paper is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on digitalisation and social equality. It argues that the digital divide is another expression of existing social inequalities in advanced capitalist knowledge service countries, acting as an amplifier of these inequalities. The second section analyses the polarisation of society in the areas of education, income and skill structure using Eurostat data. Here it is interpreted that these changes are not driven by digitalisation. The higher educational level of the population is one of the major drivers of occupational structure change, laying the foundation for digitalisation and organisational change, amplifying and reinforcing societal changes. The third section focuses on the social and digital divide in telework. Social inequality is observed in occupations open to telework, which is reinforced by the different socio-economic and physical conditions of the households of potential teleworkers, especially affecting women.

This reflection is based on a literature review and a simple analysis of statistical data on educational and occupational structure or earnings available at Eurostat at one-digit ISCED and ISCO, mainly for the whole EU 27.

Responsible Research & Innovation in Poland

Titelblatt_PolandAuthors: Agata Stasik , Alicja Dańkowska & Natalia Kobza
Year: 2020
Resume: This report has been prepared as a part of the Erasmus+ project Responsible Research and Innovation Learning aimed at developing continuous training modules for the implementation of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) principles. The RRI concept stands for the European strategy a) to increase social acceptance of research and innovation within the European society through inclusion of non-academic social actors at all stages of research and innovation processes, including the governance structures (public engagement) and accomplishment of ethical principles, b) to bring the European research and innovation closer to society through public engagement and ‘science with and for society’ initiatives (e.g. as citizen science), and last but not least c) to implement the principle of equality in research and innovation processes, especially with regard to gender.
This report outlines the relevance of the RRI concept and its main elements in the Polish National Innovation System. RRIL project focuses predominantly on two knowledge areas: economics and energy. It focuses on the realization of RRI principles in the context of support for the development of innovation in the diverse institutional framework: from technical universities and business schools, through start-ups accelerators and NGOs, to technology transfer centers and technology companies.

Responsible Research & Innovation in Finland

Titelblatt_Finland-1Authors: Jonna Hjelt & Elias Pekkola & Jari Stenvall & Yohannes Mehari
Year: 2020
Resume: The report presents a systemic view of the innovation systems in the energy and economy knowledge areas of Finland in general and in the Tampere region in particular. It specifically focusses on analysing how the actors on the regional stage interact and engage with the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in the energy and economy knowledge areas and investigates the respective strategies and practices. The study employed qualitative content analysis and 12 participants were involved in the study that are mainly in the energy and economy innovation ecosystem in the Tampere region.
The analysis shows that the Finnish national innovation system is largely led by the investment from the public sector and with recognisable involvement of the private sectors. However, investment in research, development and innovation from both public and private research funding has been in decline for several years now due to political decisions and to changes in industrial levels.
The study indicates that the concept RRI is not well known in the Finnish innovation system in the fields of energy and economy. Research institutions, companies and public administration in Tampere region used the concept of Sustainable Development Goals of the UNO, which in some degree is similar to RRI.
The study reveals the concern to promote responsible attitudes and to resolve ethical dilemmas in research and innovation. This includes the ability to co-operate with different actors in multi-dimensional way and the understanding of the need of scientifically diverse perspectives. It is perceived the needs to broader the engagement with citizens affected and society in general. In addition, the study shows that in Finnish organisations gender equality is not perceived as a problem, in spite of the existence of highly gendered professions. Finally, it is underlined that the need for educating RRI dimensions or concept could be relevant to the students, but the best way to learn engagement, gender equality and ethics are by doing those in practice.

Responsible Research & Innovation in Catalonia

Titelblatt RRIL-IO1-Cat-1Authors: Krüger, K.; Molas. A. & Jiménez, L.
Year: 2020
Resume: The report described the Spanish and Catalan Innovation systems in general and in the knowledge fields of economy and energy. The analysis suggests a dual system: on one side, there is the triple helix subsystem with universities, research centres, technology centres and enterprises, in which other actors – from the quadruple helix – are only intervening sporadically. This sub-system is steered by a complex net of public bodies and public bodies under private law, in which the enterprises have gain relevance. Other actors including cities has low relevance in this subsystem. On the other side, there is the smart subsystem mainly formed by cities and enterprises, with a low participation of universities and research centres.

In this twofold system, the Catalan universities are developing manifold actions in the fields of social compromises, gender equality and ethics, but not integrated in the concept of responsible research and innovation. They developed this action in the frame of alternative concepts as ‘University Social Responsibility’ (USR), ‘HR Excellence in Research Award’, and the UN Sustainable Goals.

Although the step forward done by the Catalan public universities in consolidation of a triple helix system, a lack in the progress towards quadruple helix configuration with a higher participation of society in the sense of empowerment of the citizens is observed. Steps were made in the dimension of social compromise, gender equality and ethics, but not within the frame of RRI. So far, there is a considerable margin to advance in the implementation of RRI in the Spanish and Catalan R&D system, for which the development and test of training modules could be a substantial support.

Journal for Social Science Vol. III, Nr. 1, 15. 03. 2008

Editor: Karsten Krüger
Year: 2008
Resumen: In the framework of the EU-Socrates Program the NESOR-consortium, consisting of partners of six EU-member states, carries out from 2006 to 2008 a project aimed at examining national approaches of the reforms in higher education under the aegis of the Bologna and Copenhagen Declarations, as well as, at detecting the role of higher education in the European social model of the emerging knowledge society. This can be resumed in the following research questions divided into two blocks:
This number of the Volume 3 of the dia-e-logos – Journal for Social Science was published in 2008 presenting the results of the research undertaken in Austria, Hungary, Italy, the Netherland, Poland and Spain. It focused on the questions: How the knowledge-based society developed in the EU member states, how the European society perceived the social risks, which are emerging in the transition to the knowledge-based society, and which functions accomplished the universities in this transition?
For technical reasons, the articles of the journal were not available in the Internet. The editorial board of dia-e-logos decided to republish the article in one joint publication considering that the questions, which NESOR addressed, have not lost relevance. On the contrary in times of societal stress caused by the Covid 19 and political decision, the questions are even more relevant.

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.