Anregungen / Fragen

German social workers as professional politicians: career paths and social advocacy

Sigrid Leitner & Klaus Stolz Social workers try to influence the political process in favour of their clients in various ways. The most direct way of doing so, entry into electoral and professional politics, is surprisingly underresearched. In this article, we...

Welcome to the project DemSoz!

Welfare State Reform “from Below”: Democratization of Social Policy via Social Work Representation of Weak Interests? (DemSoz) At the core of this collaborative project, between the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (TH Köln) and the University of Duisburg-Essen...
DemSoz – Sozialstaatsreform von unten


Welfare state reform from below

DemSoz – Sozialstaatsreform von unten

Welfare state reform from the bottom up

Representation of weak interests by social work as democratisation of social policy


The joint project between the Cologne University of Applied Sciences (TH Köln) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) on advocacy through social work focuses on important questions of democratic theory, such as how and by whom social policy reforms are initiated and implemented, and how scope for participation is used.

Studies in Germany have shown that political decisions are more strongly oriented towards the preferences of better-off population groups than towards the interests and wishes of low-income people (Elsässer et al. 2017; 2020). The concept of “weak interests” refers to actors who have few resources in the context of political interest mediation processes and address issues of “structural disadvantage in social regulation and distribution processes” (Clement et al. 2010, 7). According to von Winter/ Willems, weak interests experience “a relative disadvantage in the political competition of interests, which results from an under-equipment with the characteristics necessary for the ability to articulate, organise, mobilise and assert” (von Winter/ Willems 2000, 14). The project planned here aims decidedly at the question of the political representation of the interests of socially disadvantaged sections of the population and the responsiveness of socio-political reform processes to the needs of these people.

The focus is on the question of the extent to which the needs and interests of long-term unemployed people who are capable of working and their family members are brought into socio-political reform processes at the federal, state and local levels, and what role social work actors at different political levels play in this.

Translated with DeepL



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DemSoz – Sozialstaatsreform von unten
erforscht Sozialpolitik von unten.
ist interdisziplinäre Schnittstelle.
erforscht Demokratisierung von Sozialpolitik.
ist Forschung-Praxis-Dialog.
erforscht advokatorische Interessenvertretung.