News

Special Section published in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding

Alex Veit guest-edited the special section entitled "The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender Based Violence" in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (Vol. 13,4). The section is part of the research project "International Intervention against sexualised violence in conflict regions. Intended and unintended consequences", funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Project member Lisa Tschörner co-authored one of the articles.

Contents:

Feminism in the Humanitarian Machine. Introduction to the Special Section on ‘The Politics of Intervention Against (Conflict-Related) Sexual and Gender-based Violence’

by Alex Veit

Abstract: The prevention and mitigation of sexual and gender-based violence in (post-) conflict societies has become an important humanitarian activity. This introductory article examines the analytical discourses on these interventions, the institutionalization of SGBV expertise in international politics, and the emancipatory potential of anti-SGBV practices. It argues that the confluence of feminist professional activism and militarized humanitarian interventionism produced specific international activities against SGBV. As part of the institutionalization of gender themes in international politics, feminist emancipatory claims have been taken up by humanitarian organizations. The normal operating state of the humanitarian machine, however, undercuts its potential contribution to social transformation towards larger gender equality in (post-) conflict societies.

‘A Real Woman Waits’ – Heteronormative Respectability, Neo-Liberal Betterment and Echoes of Coloniality in SGBV Programming in Eastern DR Congo

by Charlotte Mertens and Henri Myrttinen

Drawing on archival and field research, this article critically examines the production and distribution of gender roles and expectations in SGBV programming, in particular in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We find the underlying currents in some of these programmes reinscribe heteronormativity and focus on individual betterment which resonates with regulating gender and sexuality during colonialism. In some cases, strongly western-inspired norms of individual agency have been introduced, disregarding structural constraints of people’s lives. To conclude, we explore alternative approaches to SGBV prevention, ones in which international approaches are re-defined and vernacularized for local use – but which also at times inform global understandings.

‘Without Education You Can Never Become President’: Teenage Pregnancy and Pseudo-empowerment in Post-Ebola Sierra Leone

by Anne Menzel

This article analyses the emergence of ‘teenage pregnancy’ as a new policy focus in post-Ebola Sierra Leone and explores how Sierra Leoneans interpret the problem of ‘teenage pregnancy’. I argue that the new policy focus is not indicative of changing or new problems. Rather, ‘teenage pregnancy’ has created opportunities for donors and the Government of Sierra Leone to continue cooperation in gender politics. At the same time, Sierra Leoneans are clearly concerned about ‘teenage pregnancy’, and many agree with sensitization campaigns that responsibilize young women and girls while downplaying structural factors that render them vulnerable to arrangements involving transactional sex.

Creative appropriation: academic knowledge and interventions against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

by Alex Veit and Lisa Tschörner

Recent academic research has questioned assumptions about sexual violence in (post-) conflict contexts. Gender norms rather than military decision-making have been found to constitute a major underlying reason for wartime sexual violence. In this contribution, we investigate whether international organisations seeking to prevent sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo have accordingly changed their analytical perspectives and modified policies and programming. We find that many, but not all, such organisations creatively appropriate new academic work in their policy and project documents. However, incentives for continuity in the humanitarian field have slackened the pace of any substantive practical changes.

Prof. Dr. Kerstin MartensProf. Dr. Kerstin Martens
SOCIUM and InIIS raise funds for 16 sub-projects

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved a new Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) "Global Development Dynamics of Social Policy" at the University of Bremen. Over the next four years, the CRC will receive funding of around 11 million euros.
The CRC was applied for by scientists of SOCIUM (Research Centre on Inequality and Social Policy) and InIIS. The speaker will be Professor Herbert Obinger (SOCIUM). Prof. Dr. Kerstin Martens, who will also be a member of the spokesperson team, was instrumental in the application process.

Thus far, this research has focused heavily on the comparison of highly industrialized countries. In the new Collaborative Research Center, the development dynamics of social policy will be analyzed in a perspective that also encompasses the global South. The CRC’s research program will go above and beyond previous social policy research in several respects. First, the program will bring international connections and networks to the forefront of research. National social policy cannot be explained solely on the basis of domestic conditions. Trade relations, migration, war, and colonialism, as well as the worldwide spread of ideas and rules of law, are of great significance for the socio-political developments of individual countries. Second, research in the CRC will be based on a broad understanding of social policy, including, among other things, education policy. Third, the CRC will replace the nation-state internal orientation of social policy research with an interdependency-centered approach.

The research network will be composed of 16 sub-projects and divided into two project areas. Project area A “Global Development Dynamics” (Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken) will consist of six sub-projects, examining the dynamics of development in various fields of social policy worldwide and developing a "Global Welfare State Information System" (WeSIS) database to cover all fields. Prof. Kerstin Martens from InIIS and Prof. Michael Windzio are leading the sub-project "Global Development, Diffusion and Transformation of Education Systems".

Project area B "Transregional Development Dynamics" uses case-study centered qualitative analyses to investigate the causal pathways between international interdependences and socio-political development dynamics for individual groups of countries. Here, InIIS is involved in three projects:
-“Mechanisms for the Dissemination of Social Policy” headed by Frank Nullmeier (SOCIUM), Klaus Schlichte (InIIS) and Delia González de Reufels (Institute of History)
-“Open welfare states? Social Security of Labour Migration and its Impact on National Policy” headed by Prof. Susanne K. Schmidt (InIIS)
-“Transnational Welfare: Ascent, Decay and Renaissance of Social Policy in Africa” headed by Prof. Klaus Schlichte and Dr. Alex Veit (both InIIS).

In addition to the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy and the Institute for International and Intercultural Studies (InIIS), other institutes of the University of Bremen will also be involved: the Institute of History, the Institute of Geography, the Institute for Labour and Economy (IAW), the Center of European Law and Politics, and the Working Group Information Management of the Department of Computer Science. Other collaborators include the Jacobs University Bremen, the University of Duisburg-Essen and the University of Cologne. The start of the Collaborative Research Center is scheduled for early 2018.

The start of the Collaborative Research Center is scheduled for early 2018.
You will find further information on the websites of SOCIUM  and the University of Bremen.