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Change of Contemporary Societies

Research on issues of work and social integration has shaped the social sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen and is contributing to the profile of Change of Contemporary Societies as a Main Research Area. Academics from the IAQ and IfS are involved in BMBF projects which are receiving over two million euros of sponsorship. Their focus is on new aspects of employment flexibility and the accompanying changes in work relations.
In order to maintain the high profile of this topic in the future, the Main Research Area is funding preparation of an application for a DFG Research Unit entitled "Cross-Border Labour Markets". The goal of this project, on which social scientists, economists, and educational scientists are working together across various institutes and faculties, is to observe and analyse the structural change of employment markets. How precisely do technologies and institutional innovation permit rapid communication and cooperation over greater distances? How do companies, employees and trade unions use the opportunities for worldwide mobilisation? And how do institutions react to the new gaps developing in social security and employment security systems?
Given the ongoing participation of women in the labour market, the change in employment relations and demographic development, some of the important changes in contemporary society converge in the issue of the compatibility of family and employment. This is the area to which the DFG-sponsored project "Beschäftigungsverhältnisse als sozialer Tausch (BEATA)" [Employment Relationships as Social Exchange] is dedicated. It investigates the relationship between company personnel policies and the supply of labour by the labour force and their partners or families.
Another topic of intense interest in this area concerns the chances and problems associated with societies which are becoming older and more heterogeneous. Based on a long-standing cooperation with the MGFFI (Ministry for Intergenerational Affairs, Family, Women and Integration) and the "Active Ageing of Migrant Elders across Europe" (AAMEE) network established in collaboration with it, the Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Social Research and Policy Consulting (RISP) is therefore in the process of initiating a European research cooperation programme within this field.
At the interface between integration and governance, INEF researchers are taking part in a joint European project (International Civil Society Forum on Conflicts, INFOCON) to investigate the role of transnational migrant communities and their organisations in conflict resolution, both in Europe and in their regions of origin.