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International PhD Conference and Expert Seminar of ESPAnet 2018
New Trends in the Development of Work-Family Policies, Gender and Care – Causes, Dynamics and Consequences
University of Hamburg
Date: March 19-21, 2018

New deadline Abstracts: January 28 2018

Since the 1970s, welfare state policies towards childcare and long-term care (LTC) for older people in need of care have experienced fundamental reforms in many countries. They were often based on the extension of social rights and a publicly funded infrastructure for childcare and LTC for older people. At the same time, the way in which welfare state institutions are framing care work of formal care workers and of caring family members have changed. Policy reforms that started in the 1990s were also in part based on political support for the outsourcing and marketization of care, particularly in the field of LTC policy for older people. In part, the cultural ideas towards the ‘ideal’ forms of care and about the ideal type of caregiver have also changed.
This PhD Conference aims to analyze change in welfare state policies towards the interaction of family, care (childcare, elderly care) and employment and why it to some extent went along different trajectories in different welfare states. It also evaluates the role of cultural ideas, institutional traditions and actors for this development and for the explanation of cross-national differences. The conference aims as well to explore the actual structures of care work and the work-family relationship in the context of welfare state policies, and the consequences for social inequality on the basis of gender, social class, and ethnicity. It will also be discussed which theoretical approaches and concepts are suitable for comparative and cross-national analyses.

The PhD Conference will address the following research questions:
* What are new trends in the development of care policies (policies for childcare and long-term care for senior citizens) of welfare states, and how do they differ in a cross-national perspective?
* How is it possible to explain change and cross-national differences in the development of care policies?
* What is the relationship between care policies and the structures of care work in the field of childcare and LTC for older people?
* What are the consequences of new developments in the policies and structures of care and care work for social inequality in relation to social class, gender and ethnicity?
* How useful are the common theoretical concepts of social sciences that address these issues, how could they be further developed, and how far is it possible to use concepts which might fit better?
* What are useful designs and methods of comparative research, and which quantitative and qualitative data are suitable?

The PhD Conference is organized by the University of Hamburg, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, and the European Social Policy Analysis Network ESPAnet. It is planned for two and a half days. It offers plenary sessions with lectures of leading social scientists in the field from different countries, and sessions in which PhD students present draft papers about their PhD research which they aim to develop further for publication. The invited senior social scientists will act as discussants of the presentations of the PhD students.

The PhD Seminar is targeted at advanced PhD students who in their dissertation project are aiming to further develop theoretical concepts and research about new trends in welfare state policies and structures of childcare and care for senior citizens. It will be possible for 24 PhD researchers to participate.


The following international leading welfare state researchers will act as lecturers and commentators at the ESPAnet PhD Conference and Expert Seminar:
Mary Daly, University of Oxford, UK
Yueh-Ching Chou, National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan
Guðný Eydal, University of Iceland, Iceland
Teppo Kröger, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Birgit Pfau-Effinger, University of Hamburg, Germany
Costanzo Ranci, Politechnico di Milan, Italy
Tine Rostgaard, VIVE – The Danish Centre of Applied Social Science, Denmark
Hildegard Theobald, University of Vechta, Germany

Submit Abstracts
We invite PhD students to send an abstract (350-500 words) of the paper that they aim to present at the PhD Conference to the organisers. Accepted participants will submit a draft for an article by March 10, 2018. Participants who have problems to finance the travel costs and accommodation can apply for financial support by the organisers. For this purpose, a limited amount of finances is available.

Please submit abstract by January 28, 2018 to Dr. Ralf Och, e-mail:

Coordinators: Prof. Dr. Birgit Pfau-Effinger (also member of Board of ESPAnet) and Team, Dept. of Social Sciences, University of Hamburg, Germany


Eleventh ESPAnet-Italy annual conference

Beyond Continuity:

Challenges to Social ProtectionSystems in a Globalized World

University of Florence, 13-15 September 2018

Call for session proposals- Deadline 20 January 2018

According to all projections, in the coming decades Europe’s role in the global economy will diminish considerably. Against the backdrop of demographic ageing, and a decreasing working age population, such decline will further reduce public institutions’ capacities to address citizens’ social needs adequately. As is well-known, welfare state expansion came to halt long ago and was replaced by a range of austerity policies that – far from promoting economic growth and prosperity – have had a dramatic impact, especially in countries most affected by the crisis. While prospects appear extremely gloomy in suchcountries, new avenues need to be pursued by all, even the better-off countries.

Hitherto, the social policy literaturehas focussed largely on endogenous variables and/or short-term factors (i.e. the great recession and austerity); but growing external pressures and emerging long-term issues are exposing social protection systems to a variety of new challenges that can hardly be ignored. Population aging, increasing migration flows, the technological revolution, changing value chain structures at the global level – just to mention a few examples – are deeply and rapidly changing Western (and non-Western) societies with crucial repercussions on social needs. In some countries the politico-institutional context is more responsive, but new demands generally face great difficulties in getting onto the political agenda, because of the predominant inclination toward cutting public budgets while at the same time addressingespecially old social risks, due to corporatist pressures and bureaucratic inertia.

The eleventh ESPAnet-Italy annual conference intends to shed light on the complex mix of policy measuresaimed at mitigating – across European countries and in the Italian context in particular -the typical industrial risks,plus those addressing the new social risks that are emerging in multi-ethnic, post-industrial societies.

The conference will be hosted by the University of Florence, at the “Polo delleScienzeSociali” from 13 to 15 September, 2018.

The local organizing committee suggests the following themes for session proposals:

  • – Financial sustainability and adequacy of social protection systems
  • – Advocating rights for “invisibles”
  • – Role, competences, and training of social workers in the face of current emergencies
  • – Globalization and changing labour markets and labour rights
  • – Social citizenship, multiethnic society, and the struggle against inequality
  • – Technological innovation: challenges and opportunities for healthcare systems
  • – New trends and orientations in social inclusion policies
  • – Changes in poverty and inequality ten years afterthe Great Recession
  • – Family policies and life-course choices in a context of rising uncertainty
  • – Social policies in a long-term perspective
  • – The public-private welfare mix: actors, strategies, and prospects
  • – Solidarity, democracy, and competition
  • – The impact of technological change on social protection systems
  • – Aging populations and pension systems
  • – The European Union and national social protection systems

Session proposals can also address other topics or combine two or more of the above topics.

Session proposals should promote inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches, and should be sent to the following email address: by 20 January 2018. Acceptance will be notified by 10 February 2018


English will be added at the emnd of each section on the website.

Scientific Committee

Maria Carmela Agodi, University of Naples

LaviniaBifulco, University of Milan-Bicocca

Luigi Burroni, University of Florence

TizianaCaponio, University of Turin

Carla Facchini, Universitàof Milan-Bicocca

Franca Maino, University of Milan

Mita Marra, University of Salerno

David Natali, Scuola superiore Sant’Anna Pisa

Emmanuele Pavolini, University of Macerata

Vito Peragine, University of Bari

Roberto Rizza, University of Bologna

Stefano Sacchi, University of Milan


Local Organizing Committee

Valeria Fargion

Andrea Bellini

Paolo Brunori

Veronica Federico

Alberto Gherardini

Giovanni Giuliani

Laura Leonardi

Stella Milani

Dario Raspanti

Rossana Trifiletti

Daniele Vignoli

Mattia Zulianello