Radical changes in the local governance of social cohesion in many Member States of the European Union are the focus of LOCALISE’s research on the organisational challenges of an integrated social and employment policy. The multiple needs of the most vulnerable groups in society require the integration of formerly separate policy fields. This creates positive dynamics for reducing social inequalities, fostering social cohesion and enhancing labour market participation – the crucial objectives of the new EU2020 strategy. Local activation policies are framed by Member States’ policies and patterns of regional inequality. But the shift of competences to the local level, the involvement of new actors and a closer collaboration of different agencies create new demands in interorganisational coordination. How do different institutional contexts influence local worlds of social cohesion? How do local actors deal with the conflicts and dilemmas caused by integrated social cohesion policies? What impact do these policies have on social inequality and the conception of social citizenship?
LOCALISE addresses these questions by integrating multiple disciplines, and partners experienced in European and Social Policy research. A common theoretical and methodological approach guides the research in each work package. LOCALISE will create a critical mass of research in three key areas: we first analyse how European programmes, national governance patterns and the regional socio-economic context affect the local governance of social cohesion. Secondly, LOCALISE studies how 18 local entities in six European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and United Kingdom) cope with the challenges of an integrated social cohesion policy. Finally, we analyse the impact of these policies on social inequalities, citizenship and the most vulnerable social groups.
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