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Course description

„European Labour Studies“ – Course Programme

„European Labour Studies“ – Course Programme

Since European Labour Studies forms an integrated part of the Master of Social Policy, international MEST-students can choose from a variety of courses of interdisciplinary scope covering political science, sociology, economics, law and public health. The courses offered are designed as to address theory and empirics of labour market dynamics and labour relations in a comparative perspective. The seminar on “European Labour Studies and Comparative Employment Relations” is compulsory for all German and international MEST-students. Apart from that, international students can choose from a number of courses in coordination with their national programme coordinator. The presented courses are held in English. In addition, all courses offered at ZeS in German in the fields of policies, governance, organization, management, social policy and the welfare state are also open to international students. Finally, all other courses and lectures that form part of the Bremen University teaching programme are also open to ERASMUS-students. Whether courses from other departments can be accredited towards the MEST-study programme needs to be agreed upon with the national programme coordinator. Important to know :
- Teaching at Bremen University for the summer term usually starts in the beginning or middle of April and runs until mid-July.
- In the summer term, coursework is usually organized in small groups (5 to 15 students) in form of a seminar, which requires intensive reading, active student participation, presenting a paper and/or writing an essay. Big lectures with written exams are the exception.

European Labour Studies and Comparative Employment Relations

The course provides an overview of the regulation of labour markets and employment relations in an international comparative perspective. On the one hand we will discuss the historical and theoretical foundations of labour relations while on the other hand we will look at the role that different actors, institutions and policies play at the national and supra-national level. The focus thereby will be placed on the transformation of labour relations against globalized markets and the European integration process. The course is organized along three topical areas covering (i) the main understandings and concepts of labour relations and their respective theoretical foundations ; (ii) the role of different actors in governing employment relations and how those are being regulated in selected countries ; and (iii) the role and impact of international organizations (such as the European Union, European Works Councils, the ILO) for regulating labour relations at different levels.

Work and Social Security in a Comparative Perspective

The seminar deals with most recent trends of changing labour markets and welfare states. First of all, some general trends of labour market development are discussed, namely the service economy, increasing female labour market participation, different forms of employment and the impact of unemployment. Second, some normative concepts like ‘Flexicurity’, the ‘Enabling’ or ‘Activating State’ but also critical voices that highlight the development of a workfare state, are introduced in order to describe the theoretical background of most recent policy reforms. Third, in order to prove if and how these concepts are implemented, policy changes in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands or the UK are analysed. Fourth, explanations for welfare state developments like the impact of globalisation, the importance of discourse, of institutional settings and of actors’ strategies are discussed on a general basis as well as with respect to the case studies.

Public Administration and Social Management

The course offers a multi-tiered introduction to the study of public administration and social management with a focus on social policy administration. Beginning with a glimpse on historical developments within the field of studying modern state institutions, the course includes
more recent characteristics of contemporary challenges to the traditional understanding of public management. Students will be encouraged to develop an international comparative context, especially with regard to latest trends in reforming the management (or administration) of social policy programs. Moreover, the course gives a wider perspective on public management by including other (than state) actors, like civil society. The emphasis on the theoretical framework for studying social policy administration will provide students with analytical capabilities necessary for grasping the dynamics of processes of institutional change and stability with relation to the organisation and management of welfare states.

Advanced Seminar on the Political Economy of the Welfare State

The course will examine the political economy of the welfare state, e.g. (1) the interplay of state and market in the provision of social welfare ; and (2) the role of politics in shaping specific state-market relationships. We will discuss a number of influential explanatory accounts of the diversity of state-market arrangements that exist in the OECD-world today and of the historical pathways that led to these arrangements. The course is organized around some core topics, including the role of organized groups (labour, employers) ; the impact of labour market institutions ; theories of economic globalization ; and the effects of social policy on economic performance and income redistribution. Discussions will be based on a close reading of historical case studies, comparative small-N studies and quantitative large-N analyses.

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in Europe

The European Union influences the society and culture of the member states and partly dominates national legal provisions. As far as labour regulations are concerned, workplace health and safety legislation is harmonized on EU level. This course covers the development of working conditions in the EU, the impact of changing labour relations on safety and health, and EU strategies in OHS and workplace health promotion (WHP). On the basis of selected, practically implemented state-run programs in Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and southern European countries the seminar will focus on the processes and structures of regulation. After attending the course, students will be able to analyze European initiatives on OHS and WHP and their influence on working conditions in the EU.

European Gender and Antidiscrimination Legislation

The course provides an introduction to supranational non-discrimination law. European equal treatment law is a legal framework, which sets out basic legal standards for all member states. Three topics will be addressed : Renewed social agenda to empower and help people in 21st century Europe ; Art. 13 of the Treaty on European Union and the four Directive aimed to protect people against discrimination ; the proposal for a council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, presented by the Commission (COM 2008) 426 final.


MEST  - Master Europ�en en Sciences du Travail
LSE ISCTE UAB Universität Bremen UCD UCL UNIVERZA V LJUBLJANI Firenze Milano Universität Trier University of Warwick Toulouse 1 UvA Facultatea de Științe Politice