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Title: Social justice and labour market institutions : a critical analysis of the German Hartz Regime
Author: Voigt, Douglas Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 8702
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the contemporary German labour market regime, answering one theoretical and one empirical research question. The theoretical question is: How can we analyse labour market institutions with a theory of social justice that is sufficiently parsimonious to conduct concrete empirical research? The empirical research question is: Are the labour market institutions of the German Hartz Regime socially just? The thesis proceeds in two parts. After defining the Hartz Regime, it reviews theories of justice applied to comparative political economy – particularly the social investment paradigm’s appropriation of the capability approach. With the epistemological fallacy of reification evident in the latter, the thesis constructs a critical epistemic framework based on Habermas’s system and lifeworld distinction, with their respective instrumental and normative forms of reasoning, to theorise social justice as 1) parity of participation between a plurality of normative action orientations towards labour market participation, and 2) equivalent moral standards despite functional differentiation in the system. Utilising vignette-driven interviews with Jobcenters personnel, unemployed individuals, firms, and union representatives in four regions of Germany, findings suggest that the Hartz regime does not grant parity of participation. However, the asymmetric application of moral reasoning towards different positions in the social structure is more prevalent – with capital and rentier classes enjoying increasing rights to treat the wage labour relation instrumentally rather than as the moral duty expected of labour and state dependants. The thesis then reconstructs a theory of social justice for future use in comparative political economy.
Supervisor: Clarkson, Alexander Philip Harold ; Ryner, Johan Magnus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available