This research project (a radically revised version of the TSER proposal PL953225 awarded an A but not funded), is built around the delicate conceptual differences between "social exclusion" and "poverty". Instead of prioritizing poverty and unemployment due to changes in European political economy and the welfare State, it is proposed to investigate the sociocultural construction of social exclusion by targeting spatial peripherality and individuals affected by it, objectively and intersubjectively. To this end, among the seven partners in the present network, the coordinator and five partners are located in EU regions experiencing treble peripherality: they are on the external border, in less favoured regions, and away from European development corridors. Such a research milieu is appropriate for the investigation of "hidden" causes of social exclusion, which are manifested through the damage they create in the process of European integration, peace and cooperation.
The major objective of this project is to place the periphery firmly into the debate on social exclusion, empirically as well as theoretically, thereby throwing light on the causes of social exclusion in general. The five more specific objectives correspond directly to the five research hypotheses: To understand the causes of social exclusion not highlighted in up to date research; to examine differences/ similarities between different regions and groups, and construct relevant typologies; to identify alternative ways of investigating and measuring exclusion; to develop new strategies for combatting causes of social exclusion, with particular attention to grass-roots creativity; and to bring closer together research institutions involved in the investigation of social exclusion at the European periphery.
Theoretical and methodological innovations include alternative approaches to economic constraints (embeddedness) and the role of the welfare State (intercepted by reciprocity); the mediation of such structural causes of social exclusion by culture and intersubjectivity; the fusion of postmodern and critical realist epistemologies, the methodological combination of their methods and techniques, and the approach to localities as narratives in a series of comparative historical community case studies; and a combination of targeting individuals and empowering localities for the purpose of policy recommendations.
The present 34-page report is structured on the axis of the table of contents of the TSER report Evaluation of proposals. The project is coordinated by the first and only Department of Human Geography in Greece and an experienced project manager, and realized by an interdisciplinary team of 24 principal investigators, among whom 9 Promising newcomers. A book and a networked data base on causes of social exclusion in the periphery compared with the core, will be the final outcome after three years, including policy recommendations based on alternative scenaria of European integration. A final Euro-conference will disseminate findings and extend the network.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
WC2R 2LS London
BT7 1NN Belfast