Partnerships Under Pressure

Kanamüller, Alexander/Schlimbach, Tabea/Langner, Ronald/Steiner, Christine
Partnerships Under Pressure. Working Together In Communal Educational Landscapes During The Corona Pandemic.
European Sociological Association Barcelona/ Online "Konferenz." 01.09.2021
For some time, there is increasing attention towards so-called welfare-mixes, especially in local social policy: partnerships between actors from state, economy and civil society are expected to contribute towards local welfare increase. In the field of educational policy, these forms of welfare co-production are discussed under the term „Bildungslandschaften“ (educational landscapes). The project ZivilKoop, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, looks at how civil society actors are involved in regional educational policies. The project started just before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and thus, was able to trace it´s impact through the eyes of the respondents. With this contribution, we ask if, and how, the far-reaching restrictions on public and private live influence cooperation between communal administration actors and civil society actors in the educational field. Both perspectives are being captured by applying a mixed-methods approach. In a qualitative study with 17 communal actors and an online survey with 324 civil society organisations, both taking place in the second half of 2020, we asked respondents on their involvement in local partnerships and networks. Results indicate that the corona pandemic thwarts personal networking, pushes inequalities and slows down conceptualstrategic agenda-setting. At the same time, the pandemic works as a magnifying glass, revealing urgent topics in the educational field. Insofar, the pandemic can be seen as a “stress test” for partnerships in communities. Whether these socially demanding partnerships are able to withstand the hindrances and to unfold their potential, can only be assessed in retrospect.