Since the late 1990s, the dynamics of welfare reform in Taiwan have gradually shifted to tackling new social risks emerging from economic globalization and labor market changes. This article analyzes these structural changes and the relevant institutional features of the labor market. The rise of atypical work has generated wide concern regarding its low wage income and insufficient social protection, triggering debates about which policy measures can effectively tackle the problem of the working poor. Drawing on the quantitative data from a social quality survey conducted by the Social Policy Research Center in National Taiwan University (NTUSPRC) in 2009, our analysis explores the social exclusion differences between regular and atypical workers for their objective and subjective experiences. The objective experiences include current financial situations, negative events, living conditions and political activities of the workers, whereas the subjective experiences refer to their feelings in family position, welfare assessment, discrimination, and autonomy. Our analysis helps explain the effects of work status on the degrees of social exclusion, both in the private and public spheres. The social exclusion experiences of working conditions shed light on social quality in Asia.
A Case Study of Taipei
Fen-ling Chen and Shih-Jiunn Shi
Fate or Choice?
Jan Berting and Christiane Villain-Gandossi
Since the advent of industrial society we have witnessed an ongoing debate into the nature of the relationship between technological and economic developments on the one hand, and societal changes or transformations on the other. We ask the question whether it is more important for society to comply with the exigencies of techno-economic developments, as implied by determinist techno-economic ways of thinking; or whether society, as an organised political system, has opportunities for choice when confronted by major impacts resulting from the reorganisation of production systems and international markets.
Understanding Migrant Crime through the Comparative Examination of Local Markets
Immigration politics are almost universally characterized by their complexity, their ability to raise public passions, and misinformation, often based on generalizations and stereotypes. Recently, immigration has been intrinsically linked to crime, and public agendas have squarely focused on security issues as nativist political forces have successfully created a prominent image of migrants as threats to public security. This article argues that immigrant participation in criminal markets should be studied at the local level, where micro-criminal economies often dominated by migrants actually develop. By examining criminal activity at its base, the article investigates the nature of power in these markets. Specifically, it examines migrant crime in four cities and compares it to migrant integration in regular labour markets. By doing so, the article studies levels of migrant autonomy in both criminal and regular markets and argues that this autonomy indicates whether migrant crime is entrepreneurial or a sign of social deviance.
This paper draws on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork in Higher Blackley, North Manchester, England, to explore the ways in which individuals and groups who identify themselves and are identified as 'white', 'working class' and 'English' resist what they perceive as dominant ideas and discourses, deeply unsettling of their 'Englishness'. Perceptions and expectations of 'fairness' underpin social relations in Higher Blackley and this paper will explore perceptions of dominance through the local idiom of fairness. I explore how sentiments of belonging in this area are then imaginatively transposed onto national and international levels.
Democracy seems to be inextricably linked to crisis. This is true since the ancient writings of Plato and Aristotle. More recently, the debate over the crisis of democracy goes on under the heading of “postdemocracy.” This article addresses the question of whether the crisis of democracy is an invention of theoretically complex but empirically ignorant theorists who adhere to an excessively normative ideal of democracy, on three levels: first, on the level of quality of democracy indices developed by experts; second, on the basis of the survey reports on the opinion of the demos; third, on a deeper analyses of crucial spheres of democracy. The results hint in different directions. According to expert indices and polls, the message is: there is no crisis of democracy. However, the partial analyses on participation, representation, and effective power to govern reveal unresolved democratic challenges, such as an increasing level of exclusion of the lower third of the demos from participation, an inferior representation of their interests, and a loss of democratic sovereignty in policy making.
The Rhetoric of Dutch Immigrant Integration Policy in 2011
Dana Rem and Des Gasper
The past generation has seen a switch to restrictive policies and language in the governance of migrants living in the Netherlands. Beginning in 2010, a new government with right-wing populist backing went further, declaring the centrality of proposed characteristic historic Dutch values. In this article, we investigate a key policy document to characterize and understand this policy change. Discourse analysis as an exploration of language choices, including use of ideas from rhetoric, helps us apply and test ideas from governmentality studies of migration and from discourse studies as social theorizing. We trace the chosen problem formulation; the delineation, naming, and predication of population categories; the understanding of citizenship, community, and integration; and the overall rhetoric, including chosen metaphors and nuancing of emphases, that links the elements into a meaning-rich world picture. A “neoliberal communitarian” conception of citizenship has emerged that could unfortunately subject many immigrants to marginalization and exclusion.
Germans are inordinately preoccupied with the question of national integration. From the Kulturkampf to the Weimar Republic to the separation of East and West, social fractiousness is deeply ingrained in German history, giving rise to a desire to unify the "incomplete nation." Yet, the impulse to integrate German society has long been ambivalent. Between Bismarck and the Nazi interregnum, top-down efforts to force Germans to integrate threatened to erase valued differences. The twentieth anniversary of German reunification is the occasion to assess the reality of and ambivalence towards social integration in contemporary Germany. A review of economic and social measures of East-West, immigrant, and Muslim integration provides many indications of progress. Nevertheless, social cleavages persist despite political integration. Indeed, in some aspects, including in the party system, fragmentation is greater now than it was two decades ago. Yet successful social integration is a two-way street, requiring newcomers and oldtimers to interact. Integration of the European Union to some extent has followed this German path, with subsidiarity ensuring a decentralized social model and limited cohesion. German ambivalence about social integration is a major reason for the continuing social fragmentation of the society.
Despite its highly visible physical reunification, Berlin has social fault lines that seriously challenge the city?s integration. This article reviews the multiple cleavages that crisscross Berlin?s social fabric and assesses whether and how these divides are being bridged. East-West, neighborhood, religious, national/ethnic, and socioeconomic fractures remain wide. Even the social construction of the city?s history and the embedding of collective memory in the built environment are occasions for division. Hopeful signs of increasing social integration, however, are found in the new memorials, creative multicultural forms, vibrant and diverse immigrant neighborhoods, ethnic intermarriage, and other indicators. Under conditions of severe fiscal crisis, policies such as housing renovation, the Social City Program, local nonprofit labor market initiatives, and expanded language instruction are among the deliberate attempts to promote social integration in the "New" Berlin.
The Case of Greece
Konstantinos G. Kougias
Chronic deficiencies of the Greek welfare state and the introduction of austerity measures as part of the international financial bailout agreements have created an explosive cocktail of poverty and social exclusion that severely tested the resilience of the frail social safety net and the demands of equity. The score on the indicators of social quality has worsened considerably as the Greek welfare system was overhauled. This article examines the four conditional factors of social quality from the viewpoint of socio-economic policies and everyday experiences in Greece during the crisis.
Rolf Dieter Hepp
In our society, the relationship between periphery and center is changing. Questions discussed under the conditions of outsiders and suspended social groups penetrate the center of society and systematically determine the social correlations. Inequality, poverty, social insecurity, and precariousness are equated with changes in social change when the risk of social exclusion is undermined by unskilled activities. This is, for example, very much the case in the German discussion so that outsider groups are defined in Germany, which have themselves maneuvered into a corresponding social situation through wrong biographical decisions. The French approach of Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Castel, and Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello differed decisively in this respect, since they reoriented social uncertainties and precariousness in a reorganization of the work structure. This article shows how precariousness is shifted to the center of society and how qualified work develops into unsafe and precarious working conditions within the framework of the reorganization in project activity.