Policy Fragmentation As a Bridging Concept in Institutional Analysis of Gender Regime Change - the German Case

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 12:30
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Silke BOTHFELD, University of Applied Sciences, Germany
It is undeniable that the formerly conservative German gender regime has seen seminal change through the reforms in German family and equal opportunity policies over the last two decades. However, a transition to a new gender model, the adult-worker, or a dual care-giver-model, is yet not to be seen. Rather, new conflicting incentives are being institutionalized, which represent different normative and causal, sometimes contradictory assumptions and which can be ascribed to totally different gender models.

The German gender regime is a good example to demonstrate that its fragmentation is a typical but not unavoidable side-effect of institutional change. Basing on the concept of gender regime (as longtime debated in feminist welfare state research), the concept of fragmentation highlights the idea that in order to adequately assess institutional change, we need two axes, a horizontal and a vertical axis of analysis: While horizontal

fragmentation denominates inadequate coordination between policy fields and results in inconsistent institutional regimes, vertical fragmentation point out the consequence of tensions between institutional regulation and actual social (gendered) practices. As such, fragmentation indicates a current phenomenon in institutional social policy change. Conceptually, the paper offers a fruitful framework for analyzing incremental and eventually paradigmatic change as well as the evolution of gender regimes. Empirically, my arguments are based on a short analysis and interpretation of the present German gender regime.