Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

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Inhaltsbereich: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

Joblessness and Social Inclusion (ET)


Research Department

Research task

The research department is investigating the life nexus in unemployment, low income and basic income support. This implies studying structures and dynamics of life situations, everyday life, biographies, labour market participation, employability and employment motivation, family relations, education and – last but not least – the related perceptions and reflexions of the persons concerned. How do life patterns, employment chances and social participation of vulnerable households develop in present day Germany; in a period when, in most early industrialized countries, the relation between labour, unemployment and poverty is fundamentally revisited at political and practical levels? In particular, the following questions arise: What characterizes the unemployed, low income or poor households‘ situation of living, in terms of material subsistence, physical health and psychosocial wellbeing? How do they perceive such situations and cope with them? How is this related to everyday practices and biographical experiences of the households concerned, as well as to norms and administrative practice of the social services they are interacting with? How are chances developing to leave the respective precarious circumstances and enter sustainable employment? And, on the opposite, what circumstances lead to becoming locked in benefit dependency - and how can this be overcome without violating the citizens‘ rights for social support in neediness? The field of study therefore includes material aspects of the social situation and development, like monetary and material resources, housing conditions, health, access to social services, job search and employment participation, education, consumption, education, family, leisure, but also the communicative and interpretive dimensions of cooperation, self-perception, social ascriptions, and reflexive thought of the persons concerned. Resources, action patterns and action potentials are to be understood not as individual traits, but as social phenomena, socially conditioned and produced, individually appropriated and enfolded under the present social conditions and structures.

Presently, the research department pursues this task in three lines of research:

Research line 1:
Employment chances, labour market and social policy measures for disadvantaged or specially affected groups (e. g. aged persons, people with disabilities) from the perspective of social inequality, including questions of personal experiences and judgement.

Research line 2:
Patterns of interaction between clients and social service providers in the field of labour market and social policy; change and development in social and labour market services, with special respect to counselling, job placement and support services.

Research line 3:
Life nexus, everyday life and social embeddedness of unemployed persons, low income households and benefit recipients; conditions of emerging, change, locking in or transgression of being in need for social support.

This research is based on qualitative and quantitative longitudinal data, mostly from surveys, but also from administrative procedures of the Federal Labour Agency. The research department is continuously participating in the content development of the annual low income household survey IAB PASS, but also in the development of special datasets, like the LiDA cohort panel on work related health developments within an ageing workforce, or the scientific exploration and prospection of administrative data on vocational rehabilitation. Moreover, advanced qualitative methodologies are developed and transferred into labour market and social policy research, implemented and developed, like photo and graphic elicitation interviews and visual analysis. Cooperative research with universities and research institutes from Germany and wider Europe are supplementing the ac


Projects of department

Staff members