The fundamental goal of the project is a detailed study of the spatial context assisting or hindering the European periphery in its development towards a “knowledge society”, the evaluation of its existing development strategies and policies for strengths and weaknesses, and the development of new and more efficient ones, which would take better into account the local social and cultural spatial context. Why are spatial disparities of development in contemporary Europe being rebuilt time and again? What particular elements of the socio-economic, political and cultural spatial context are responsible for, or contribute to the persistence of development drawbacks in peripheral countries and regions and present an obstacle to their successful transition to a knowledge-based economy and society? How can social and cultural knowledge be used to help the European periphery on the way to a “knowledge soсiety”? These research questions will be investigated on the base of case studies through a comparative analysis of two regions in peripheral European countries: “Centro” in Portugal and Dalmatia in Croatia. The project will address the topic focusing on three main dimensions: regional territorial identity, governance, and human potential. Each of them will be studied using two research methods: the “top-down” macroscopic method comprising “desk studies” of secondary sources of data and the “bottom-up” microscopic method comprising field studies of primary sources of data. The integration of these two methods will allow a diversified and multifaceted grasp of the processes taking place in the European periphery and influence the chances of its successful knowledge-based development. The skills and competencies that will be acquired by the fellow during the execution of the project will strongly enhance his potential for pursuing a successful research career in a European context and making a valuable contribution to the knowledge-based society.
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