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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Re.Cri.Re. (Between the representation of the crisis and the crisis of representation. How crisis changed the symbolic background of European societies and identities. Implication for policies and policy making)
H2020

Re.Cri.Re. Report Summary

Project ID: 649436
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Re.Cri.Re. (Between the representation of the crisis and the crisis of representation. How crisis changed the symbolic background of European societies and identities. Implication for policies and policy making)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

This project aims to understand what kind of social identity change is going on within European societies. For policymaking, the analysis of social identity is highly valuable because the social identity moderates the impact of policies. And this is particularly true in times of crisis. In particular, the project aims: A) to verify whether the symbolic universes grounding the social identity has undergone a major change within European societies, as a consequence of the socio-economic crisis; B) to draw strategic and methodological implications for policy-making from point A. This project includes 4 core scientific work packages: a) Multilevel Analysis of the Symbolic Universes, aimed at mapping structurally and developmentally the systems of meaning (i.e. the symbolic universes) grounding the social identity; b) Case Studies for policies, aimed at see how different policies have been organized and how their impact might or might not have been moderated by the symbolic dynamics at stake; c) the results of this analysis will be transformed into abstract criteria, contextualised in 5 different European macro-Regions, discussed with stakeholders, opinions leaders, policy-makers and finally stored within the guidelines; d) finally, the guidelines will be validated in terms of pertinence, effectiveness and the feasibility criteria, through seminars with the policy makers, opinion leaders and stakeholders, belonging to national, European, international Agencies involved in the construction and implementation of policies. Also, focus groups will be organized in each cultural context in order to study the impact of context specific criteria.

To this end, the project pursues the following goals:
1) To map the systems of meanings (henceforth symbolic universes) grounding the social identities in the different European societies.
2) To analyze what different higher mental functions (e.g. way of feeling, thinking, planning; forms and processes of memory; logical structures of reasoning, locus of control) symbolic universes are associated with, and through what different forms of behaviour and communication they are expressed in daily life circumstances;
3) To estimate the relation of the symbolic universes with the socio-economical phenomena (e.g. forms of social behaviours, functioning of institutions, characteristics of communities, consumptions, economic activities).
4) To verify whether a major change of the symbolic universes grounding the social identity has been occurring/has occurred;
5) To analyze at what extent such a change is distributed in European local contexts, in connection with what socio-cultural (broadly speaking) conditions;
6) To explore the repercussions of the change of the symbolic universes for some social objects, relevant to European cohesion (e.g. solidarity, Europe, democracy; participation; social inclusion, sustainability, innovation);
7) To understand the role played by the symbolic universes in mediating the impact of policies;
8) To identify both general guidelines and context-specific, strategic and methodological guidelines for policy-making in post-crisis contexts, that are consistent with the symbolic universes at stake.
9) To validate both general and context-specific guidelines in terms of relevance, effectiveness, feasibility as well as appropriateness to the symbolic universes.

According to a psycho-social conception, to which this Project refers, the impact of policies is never simply a function of their intrinsic characteristics (e.g. expected actions, suggested rules, located targets) and the contents they propose (e.g. promotion of solidarity, of a European public sphere, cohesion), but it also depends on how those elements are interpreted by the social actors embedded in their local contexts. This interpretation is grounded and channeled by actors’ social identity, conceived in its turn as based on a stable system of generalised meanings (here called: symbolic universe) that shapes the image actors have of
themselves and their relation with the social environment.
In policy-making, the analysis of the symbolic universes grounding the social identity has great importance, because such universes mediate the impact of policies. And this is particularly true in
times of crisis. Indeed, in critical situations, two possible scenarios emerge:
- Scenario 1: social systems are able to assimilate the crisis into their view of reality: the representation of the crisis therefore does not modify the symbolic universes of the social
identity, which can serve as the common ground to which policies can be anchored. For the policy-maker this is the scenario of continuity;
- Scenario 2: the crisis reorganizes the way reality is interpreted, modifying the symbolic universes of the social identity. In other words, the representation of the crisis leads to the crisis of representation. A symbolic disruption/rupture occurs. Several historical examples could be reported to show that deep socio-economic crises produced radical anthropological changes in social identity (e.g. the rise of National Socialism as a reaction to the Weimar Republic crisis). This is the scenario of discontinuity. In such situations, policies to exit the crisis must address such a (dis)rupture.
This Project is based on the hypothesis that the crisis European Countries are facing is a major one: namely, it has produced a rupture in the symbolic universes of social identity, and therefore in the way actors view themselves and their relationship with the social and institutional world.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"The work developed in this first year has concerned four main pillars of the overall action:
1. Set the management structure of the project in order to provide effective project management through sound planning, a well organised and active network of WPL managers and a transparent decision procedure.
2. Adopt and implement the Communication and Dissemination action plan to reach both the general public and scientific and expert community at national and European level
3. Develop the multilevel analysis of the symbolic universes
4. Adopt the action plan and kick-off the case studies of policies

The following activities have been performed within each of the aforementioned categories:
1. Set the management structure of the project
a. the action plan for the project internal meetings has been adopted. The following meetings have taken place until 30 April 2016 in accordance to it:
- kick-off meeting in Mesagne, Italy on 9-11 June 2015;
- meeting of the management committee in Mesagne, Italy on 9 June 2015;
- meeting of the Scientific Committee and Technical meeting in Malta on 3-5 September 2015;
- meeting of the Management committee on 30 September 2015 (online)
- meeting of the Management committee on 1 February 2016 (online)
- General Assembly in Brussels on 23 February 2016
Based on a common agreement and on the necessity to make an effective use of resources, the meetings schedule has been kept flexible so as to enquire on the best conditions from one General Assembly to the other and adapt it to the flow of the scientific research and outcomes
b. research and administrative and financial units have been set within each partner organisation dedicated to the implementation of the project
c. bilateral partnership agreements have been signed by the Coordinator and each partner
d. financial transfers have been made by the Coordinator to each partner's administrative and financial unit
e. tasks, responsibilities and role of partners defined on the occasion of the kick-off meeting in Mesagne and reviewed at the General assembly in Brussels
f. effective communication among partners have been set: Intranet area of the website (where the outputs of the project are stored), GotoMeeting, mailing list
g. define and adopt the gender strategy
h. define the ethical measures for project implementation
j. set the Advisory Board

2. Adopt and implement the Communication and Dissemination action plan to reach both the general public and scientific and expert community at national and European level
In order to give visibility to the project and involve relevant stakeholders, a coherent set of communication channels and dissemination events have been organised/adopted.
a. set up the website of the project: http://www.recrire.eu
b. adoption of a project leaflet translated into all partners' languages. The leaflets have been distributed in all relevant activities organised or attended by partners
c. use of ALDA's communication channels: in order to involve stakeholders in the project and, in particular, regional and local authorities and civil society associations, all ALDA's communication channels have been put at the consortium's disposal. ALDA is a European network of more than 200 members gathering local authorities and civil society associations from 40 countries in wider Europe. All relevant activities have been promoted on ALDA's website, newsletter and social media
d. radio interviews at local and national level
e. 11 working seminars organised in Italy, France, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece and Spain to involve both the general public and scientific and expert community at national and European level
f. participation in conferences, seminars, workshops and other events not organised by the partners
g. participation in the "Changing Europe" event organised by the EC and exchange with other H2020 project consortia

3. Develop the multilevel analysis of the symbolic universes
The following actions have been developed until 30 April 2016:
a. Construction of the VOC Questionnaire "Images of context" in English and all partners' languages (task 3.1a)
b. Selection of scales and subscales for the detection of higher mental functions (task 3.1b)
c. Construction web platform for the online administration of the VOC questionnaire + scales and subscales for the detection of higher mental functions, in the different languages of the project
d. Construction of the research protocols for the task 3.1a and task 3.1b
e. Invitation to participate in the task 3.1a /b to other external partners. Accession by Portugal, Brazil, Romania
f. Dissemination of the Questionnaire in partners' countries
g. Elaboration of the first results (January 2016) and their sharing in the Project Meeting held in Brussels on 23 to 26 February 2016, both with partners and external stakeholders
h. Monitoring of data collection, and technical and operational support to partners who requested it
i. Construction of indicators for the detection of socio-economic, ecological and socio-behavioural data
j. Identification of the sources for data collection at national and European level
k. Data collection
l. Construction of the research protocol for the task 3.2
m. Invitation to participate in the task 3.2 extended to other external partners in the project (Turkia, Romania)
n. Drafting of deliverables: D3.1 – “Draft report task multilevel analysis of the symbolic universes”

4. Adopt the action plan and kick-off the case studies of policies
a. on 25 February 2016 in Brussels, the action plan on the analysis of case studies was drafted, discussed and adopted in advance of the scheduled plan"

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Below, the expected impacts and outcomes are listed as they were defined in DoA and partially reached during the first year of activities. The impacts are mainly related to the research activities implemented in WP3, which are still in an ongoing process of scientific elaboration. There are not socio-economic impacts so far, due to the fact that the first year of the project is mainly devoted to research activities.
In next 24 months, partners will further elaborated research results (including research results of WP4, WP5 and WP6) and they will work on dissemination, respecting the indicators of results established in DoA.
The outputs of WP3 are not yet fully accomplished: the data have been collected and they are in process of scientific analysis. Results will be available in the WP3 draft report.

Expected impacts reached or close to be reached by the project:

Impact 1. To identify common ground which may serve as a facilitator for a renewed resolve to foster European integration.

Outputs for impact 1:
- The understanding of the symbolic universes being active in the European societies both in terms of its general mapping (task 3.1.a) and of its processuality in situated daily life situations (task 3.1.c);
- The interpretation of the geographical sites sampled in terms of the symbolic dynamics characterising them, namely in terms of the three types of symbolic scenarios defined by the project - A) Scenario 1 continuity: a Scenario 1 remains the same; B) Scenario 1-2 transition: a Scenario 1 turns into a Scenario 2; C) Scenario 2 continuity: a Scenario 2 remains the same (Tasks 3.2.a-3.2.e).

Impact 2. To expand and deepen the knowledge base on the discontent expressed by individuals in modern societies and on the ways in which their sense of identity is shaped.

Outputs for impact 2:
- The modelling of the linkage between the symbolic universes and the (broadly speaking) socio-ecological and psychological dynamics characterizing the life of the European societies – this in terms of the identification of patterns of psychological, behavioural, social, cultural, physical, geo-political indicators, that are associated with the identified symbolic universes in an enough stable way (Task 3.1.b);
- The map of the content in terms of which each of the 9 topics investigated is represented in the collective sphere (Tasks 3.2.a-3.2.e).

- The detection of the semantic structure underpinning the representational contents (Tasks 3.2.a-3.2.e).

- The understanding of the relation between both contents and semantic structure and the symbolic universes grounding them (Tasks 3.2.a-3.2.e).

- The retrospective reconstruction of the evolution of both contents and semantic structure over time (Tasks 3.2.a-3.2.e).

The relation between such evolution and the psychological and socio-ecological characteristics associated with the symbolic universes at stake (Tasks 3.2.a-3.2.e).

Outcome of the project for impact 1 and impact 2:
- Enforcement of the policy-making’s capacity of impact

- Theoretical and methodological innovation in the field of political studies and policy design

- Theoretical and methodological innovation in the scientific and operative approaches to social identity

Indicators:
n. of website contacts:
Page Views: 24 762
Visits 8 566

n. of acceptance of the scientific reports of the analyses on main scientific international conferences: 4

Related information

Record Number: 191358 / Last updated on: 2016-11-16
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