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Subproject: Organization and Law – Political Interest Groups and Legal Interventions

The project "Organisation and Law" is part of the DFG-funded research group Law-Gender-Collectivity. The subproject is located at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Potsdam under the direction of Prof. Dr. Maja Apelt. It is currently in its second funding phase. Information on the first funding phases can be found below.


Funding phase 2: The organisation of consumer protection – political actors and legal framework

Project duration: 10/2021 – 09/2024
Head: Prof. Dr. Maja Apelt
Academic staff: Dr. Matthias Schneider, Teresa Löckmann, M.A.

The relationship between companies and consumers is usually characterized by a power and information imbalance in favor of companies. This structural asymmetry is intended to compensate for consumer law. However, while companies often have their own legal departments and high financial resources, consumers usually confront them as individual actors with limited legal knowledge and financial resources. For some years now, consumers have been increasingly solidarizing and collectivizing themselves in order to create a countervailing power and assert their interests and rights against corporate actors.

In relation to this new development, it examines which processes of organization take place in the mobilization of consumers. A special focus is on the role of gender and other dimensions of social inequality. This intersectional perspective is further complemented by the consideration of transnationality. The question of organization is dealt with on the basis of two cases. On the one hand, it is viewed in the context of the reduction in VAT on hygiene products for menstruating persons. On the other hand, consumer protection organizations such as consumer advice centers, women's organizations as members of consumer advice centers, and consumer self-organizations come into focus.

Both cases are based on a mixed-methods approach. The legal, organizational, and movement contexts are surveyed using document analysis. In addition, participant observations and expert interviews are conducted in the fields. The data is analyzed in an iterative process using qualitative coding.

The sub-project "The Organization of Consumer Protection" thus contributes to a better understanding of the relationships between law and organizations, which have so far received too little attention in the sociology of law and organization. It also contributes to the further development of the debate on gender organisation and law and gender.


Funding phase 1: Men's Associations, Military and Fire Brigade – Political Interest Groups and Legal Interventions

Project duration: 04/2018 – 06/2021
Head: Prof. Dr. Maja Apelt
Academic staff: Dr. Henrik Dosdall; Ray Trautwein, M. A.

The subproject investigates how European anti-discrimination law is implemented and implemented from legislation to organisational regulations, instructions and recommendations into two male-dominated organisational types (corporate actors) - military and fire brigade. It is about (1) which collective actors - interest organizations and social groups - participate in this process, constitute themselves in it and how they relate to each other, (2) how law changes in this process and (3) how this influences the practices of equal treatment. The project starts in 2000 with the EU's anti-discrimination directives and aims to integrate a document and media analysis, expert interviews in the participating organisations and groups, as well as selected case studies on the interaction between different actors.