Labour market situations as well as societal and political views on social rights have changed substantially, particularly in the wake of intensified labour migration to and between EU Member States and against the background of a dramatic divide between Northern, Southern and Eastern European countries.
ICES promotes, within its research axis Welfare and Work, the study and critical debate of consequent problems related to social risks of unemployment, sickness and poverty in the context of changing societies, and shifting labour market structures. ICES shares an interest in historical developments of European welfare states, as well as in an improved understanding of current crises. This includes analyses of the contemporary policy paradigm of welfare retrenchment and economic austerity. We also promote research taking a global perspective and thereby shedding light on the way in which EU policies are suited to deal effectively with pressures resulting from international competition and migration. In this axis, we support not only research which understands welfare and work as social and economic formations or the outcome of diverging policy approaches; we also encourage studies which comprehend welfare and work as cultural concepts that have laid the normative foundations for a European social model. To what extent this social model is under threat in a world of increasing political and economic internationalisation, in which way European societies might agree or disagree on the principles of such a model and how this might lead to cultural conflicts, are all questions of the essence which ICES seeks to assist researchers to address.
To these ends, ICES appreciates the significance of empirical analyses as well as research which put these phenomena into the context of normative theory. We support research from all disciplines with methods, concepts and perspectives of the humanities and law as well as with those from the social sciences and economics.