“The State and Public Administration: Crisis Saviours or Losers?”: This was the central question at the annual FoJuS conference, which took place at the University of Bremen on 3 and 4 December 2010. The conference was opened by a keynote speech given by Prof. Dr. Jan-Erik Lane, who talked about “Fiscal Austerity and the Public Services: On the Rationale of the Mixed Economy in the 21st Century”. According to Lane, austerity measures introduced as a result of the 2008 financial crisis will drastically alter the relationship between public and private services provided: The magnitude and speed of privatisation processes witnessed until now will continue to increase. Crisis management primarily based on a privatisation of profits and a socialisation of losses brings about new crises: The blatantly uneven distribution of profits and losses and the erosion of the concept of societal solidarity will result in social protest and social unrest.
Following the opening lecture, nine speakers presented theory-oriented, as well as empirical answers to questions as to how the state and public administration act in crisis situations, which repercussions crises – and especially state-controlled crisis management – have on policy (sectors) and public administration, and – never waste a good crisis – how crises are used to pass long-planned, but hitherto unrealised reform measures through the “window of opportunity”.