Key topics

Child and adult protection

​Social and health policy measures between "protection" and "self-determination", e.g. out-of-home placement or coercive accommodation, always lie in the field of tension between welfare and coercion. Within the scope of the past “poverty law” and guardianship system as well as with regard to today’s child and adult protection, the authorities intervene into families and into the ability of individuals to act. Children, teens, and their parents as well as adults are impacted by these interventions. Social and economic developments coin changes to the zeitgeist and to legal understanding. The projects in this module investigate how the significance of concepts of “need for protection”, self-determination, ability to judge, and many more have changed over the course of time as well as examining their former and current impact.

Interventions and Pathways in Life ​

This module investigates the consequences of measures taken within the tension field between welfare and coercion. Irrespective of the design of structures, enforcement and supervision, such measures can have different consequences: Some persons concerned might see themselves as having been at the mercy of the public authorities; whereas others might have been able to express their point of view actively in proceedings. If, within the scope of measures taken to combat poverty, self-determination and personal rights are not paid sufficient attention, this can have adverse consequences - on education, social and professional integration as well as livelihood security - thus defining the paths of lives up until an advanced age. Moreover, the social environment as well as future generations will also be impacted.

Rights and Legal Practice

​​​State activities in the tension field between welfare and coercion to ensure "protection", "support" and "encouragement" as well as state interventions require legal bases. The administrative ordering, implementation and supervision of such measures must be in due compliance with human rights. These conditions were not or only partially fulfilled in the past. The projects in this module will investigate the change of legal practice, rights of appeal, and social norms, all coining the understanding of what is "legal". In this respect, the question as to whether the persons concerned had access to justice and were able to enforce their legal rights or not has also evolved over time. Irrespective of this, the question arises as to whether the persons concerned suffered injustices due to former legal practices or whether former legal systems and practices violated human rights.

Economic and political interdependences

​The design of measures to combat poverty within the tension field between welfare and coercion is coined decisively by the rationale of financial policy, institutions and networks as well as by cooperation between state and non-state actors. Depending on the priorities of the current political agenda and cost issue estimates, definitions of what is best for the “good” of children, teenagers, and adults will shift. Weighting the relation between self-determination and the protection of society varies – as do the consequences for the persons concerned. Projects belonging to this module will address these questions.