Research Projects

Research Project: Generational Relationships

Childhood research uses the generation concept to determine the differences between children and adults and their social organisation. It is not only about the question of intergenerational justice, i.e. the distribution of services, resources and opportunities between children and adults, as is evident, for example, in the granting of social support services, but also about the characterisation of processes that identify individuals as children or adults. The concept of "generationing" (Honig 2009, p. 46), which is discussed in socio-structural childhood research, analyses the interaction possibilities of children along social structures and lines of conflict of age, class, gender and ethnicity. The processes of childhood growing up need to be discussed in the context of the change in these social structures and the relationship between generations in order to present dimensions of social differentiation and mobilization as well as lines of conflict. Against this background, the importance of children´s relationships with their grandparents will be examined.

Method design: Interviews with children and grandparents, literature analysis of relevant theoretical and empirical studies on the situation of children with their grandparents and political documents.

Research Project: Childhood in foster families

The basic aim of the research project is to examine the system of educational assistance provided by foster families in order to be able to analyse the offer structures for children from foster families who have experienced violence - specifically according to age, gender, sibling consequences and relationships as well as social milieu - in an exemplary and comparative manner. Against the background of the possible mediations between the findings of recent childhood research and child policy, the significance of the child's power of judgement, reflexivity, ability to act and awareness in the context of foster families, families of origin and the institution of the youth welfare office will be determined.

Method design: image analysis, expert interviews, literature analysis of relevant theoretical and empirical studies on the children living in foster families who have previously experienced violence and political documents.

Sponsored by the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of North Rhine-Westphalia 2014-2017

Teaching Research Project: Education and Childhood

In the teaching research project, research methodological and practical competences for carrying out empirical research work in childhood research are practiced with students and then tested and reflected upon in projects. The theoretical and scientific foundations for the training of analytical and methodical competences in the field of childhood research are to be practised so that students can apply their individually acquired socio-pedagogical knowledge in depth in order to develop their own research design in the field of childhood research. The interest in knowledge is directed towards the question of the possibilities of promoting early developmental and educational processes in family and extra-family care and educational contexts.

Method design: qualitative interviews with family midwives, parents and children, image analysis of children's drawings

Historical-systematic and international-comparative research on Mary Richmond

The aim of the analysis is to demonstrate and systematically reconstruct the effectiveness of Mary Richmond in the knowledge-theoretical and professional-practical confrontations of professional history and discipline formation in social work. It is assumed that the processuality of social life is embedded as a criterion in the representational logic of Mary Richmond's position. In addition to the causes and forms of social development, the relationship between the social classes and the possibilities of appropriation of the public sphere in social space are also central to the investigation, since it is assumed that only when the everyday life of the production and reproduction of social categories - as tools of judgement and perception - is uncovered can a social confrontation arise concerning  how power structures are handled.

Method design: Archive Studies at Columbia University (New York), textual hermeneutic analysis

The situation of children in single-parent families

This study was based on the notion that children have their own competences and are able to shape their life situations relatively independently and creatively as autonomous subjects. Due to the structural dependence on state transfer payments, many single parents are not in the position to guarantee their children adequate education and training and therefore require special socio-educational support services, which are currently not covered by the existing inadequate offers - especially in rural areas. The unequal position of men and women in social, political and above all in working life becomes particularly precarious in times of increasingly scarce gainful employment and has an impact on the living conditions for children in single-parent families, as these children mainly live with their mothers and depend on the mother's financial resources. The family is an important transfer system - which becomes all the more important, the more the public social security funds are depleted. The family distribution system creates new inequalities within the young generation, and this is where the social breaks will occur in the future. The demand for an independent basic provision for children, for sufficient care and education opportunities for children and for children's rights of participation in all decisions that have an effect on their circumstances can be regarded as an essential result of this empirical survey.

Method design: Literature analysis of the relevant theoretical and empirical situation of children in single-parent families, guideline-based interviews with children in the 8-12 age group

Jane Addams, Mary Richmond and Alice Salomon: Professionalization and Discipline Building of Social Work

The scientific theoretical debate on the historical sources - gained from the history of the world up to the 20th century - is a key element of the research of the history of the humanities. The contributions by Jane Addams, Mary Richmond and Alice Salomon - which reach into the 20th century - show that three developments are central in the context of international knowledge transfer and the development of a global consciousness in bourgeois communities. The first is concerned with the empirical contributions of social reforms to the perception, communication and integration of social work in heterogeneous societies and illustrates the processual and discursive character of social work. The second development, dealing with the international relations of Jane Addams, Mary Richmond and Alice Salomon, refers to the entanglement of disciplinary contexts and professional practices with political action. The third development, the possibilities for participation and shaping municipal and national social policies - which were constructed in the context of social justice and intercultural debate - show that political publics can be created through different accentuations, which led to the introduction of social reforms and the formation of a disciplinary identity. In addition to the scientific theoretical memory, central positions in the discipline and professional history of social work can be interwoven with current professional debates on reflexivity and democratization, which make it possible to critically examine social relations in their consequences for the relationship between the individual and society.

Method design: Archive Studies at UIC (Chicago), Columbia University (New York), University of Waterloo (Canada), University of Edinburgh and University of Aberdeen (Scotland), textual hermeneutic Analysis