ANR-DFG Project Access-plus

Access to social rights in France and Germany: Inequalities and discrimination, gender and migration in the multiscalar (jeux d’échelles) European area

The project analyses processes of Europeanization (from 1957 onwards) that influence the access to social rights and benefits in Germany and France, thereby changing the social policy repertoires, in terms of compensating social inequalities and fighting discrimination. The concept of social citizenship, involving (i) a narrative of social cohesion, (ii) the relationship between individual participation, social security, and status norms, and (iii) a territorially constituted political order, constitutes our analytical grid. France and Germany have been chosen as comparative contexts whose contrasting traditions of social citizenship enter into different entanglements with Europeanization. Based on an abstract notion of equality and a universally understood social integration, social citizenship in France allows for differentiation according to social status and for tying social policy to concrete objectives. In Germany, on the other hand, social citizenship is based on membership in a sociocultural community and allows for its delegation to intermediary bodies, decentralized organization, and thus for more pluralism. We examine social inequalities and discrimination in access to social rights with respect to women and migrants. Both population groups have historically been marginalized in the labor market and in the context of social protection. Our project comprises three interrelated objectives:

  • On the basis of primary sources for Germany and France, we elaborate a historical sociology of (i) the problematizations of access to social rights, (ii) the legal codifications, and (iii) the policy instruments of compensation for social inequalities and the anti-discrimination struggle in the field of gender equality, migration, and ethnicity.
  • We take stock of the European rules and regulations of access to social rights and benefits on the basis of administrative and legal documents.
  • We investigate the effects of Europeanization on access to social rights and benefits in both countries, especially with regard to the targeted social groups. We focus on the period after the adoption of the European Anti-Discrimination Directive in 2000.

The project aims to identify the changes, adaptations and barriers in the legal codification and in the development of policy instruments on the basis of which inequalities are compensated and discrimination is combated in Germany and France. We work with the help of symmetrically designed case studies that thematically focus on access to basic social security schemes and continuous vocational training rights.

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