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Lost and Found in «Translation»

Circulating Ideas of Policy and Legal Decisions Processes in Korea and Germany


Edited By Eun-Jeung Lee and Hannes B. Mosler

This book analyzes policy translation and its ends, how the concept of translation explains the emergence and (ex-)changes of policy ideas in different places and/or across borders in general, as well as the effectiveness of this concept in analyzing cases of actual policy dissemination. This book discusses these questions on a general theoretical level and within the context of actual policies and laws mainly between South Korea and Germany. South Korea is widely considered a typical example of a reforming country that is on the receiving end of disseminations of policies and ideas from advanced countries. From this point of view, it constitutes a highly interesting case for testing the applicability of the translation approach. The basic idea of this book is to analyze how different actors in different contexts and settings adopt varying interpretations and understandings of an idea, and how well the analytical concept of translation can be utilized for this endeavor.
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(2) Translating Welfare Assemblages in the “New” Eastern Europe: Re-domaining the Social?


Abstract The author of this chapter adapts the notion of “assemblage” so as to enrich the concept of translation in the literature on policy decision making, and argues for developing a vocabulary, epistemology, and methodology that emphasize the interactions, the complexity, and the liminality of encounters between actors, sites, scales and contexts.

1. Introduction: Escaping the orthodoxies of social policy studies

One of the paradoxes of the academic study of social policy, at least in the developed world, has been that, despite the inherent multi-disciplinary nature of its endeavor, it is still rather narrow in focus, limited in scope and range, and simplistically normative in moving from analyzing “what is” to suggesting “what should be.” Many of the most important recent “turns” in the social sciences, be they “cultural,” “discursive,” “interpretative,” “spatial,” or “post-colonial,” have tended to be ignored, dismissed, or misunderstood by the main body of social policy scholarship. Recognition that the subject matter of social policy is no longer solely the nation state, and less still the particular Northern and Western European “welfare state” form that it was assumed, wrongly as it turns out, would likely remain in place forever, has hardly stirred the pot. It has led less to a fundamental rethinking, than it has to a new field of “comparative,” “international” or “global” social policy studies that, on the whole, represents little more than a “‘scaling up’ of the objectivist knowledge of nation states to include supra-national actors” (Lendvai and...

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