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MEDEA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 225670
Funded under: FP7-SSH

Tracing the effects of changing economic models

Investigating the impact of development paths on the livelihoods and life projects of citizens, the MEDEA project has contributed to the knowledge base on economic development models. It achieved this through a historical and comparative analysis of ethnographic data and by generating recommendations for more complex and context-sensitive approaches.
Tracing the effects of changing economic models
MEDEA adopted an ethnographic and comparative approach to the study of knowledge transmission and livelihood strategies, particularly as regards development models and their effects. Researchers structured project work in line with the premise that analysis of theoretical development models and global policies must be situated within the complexities of historically unfolding conditions and relationships on the ground.

Developed under the auspices of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), MEDEA explored the dynamic effects of models and their context-bound implementations, and local and global responses to these effects. To achieve their goals, empirical studies were conducted in Argentina, Brazil, Slovakia and Spain.

Consortium members were particularly concerned with global flows, the concrete outcomes of historical processes, and the implementation of economic models within specific locations. As new models and policies replace old ones, different sectors of the economy gain or lose prominence within the overall economic structure. As such, various industries, and forms and relations of production and distribution emerge and are shaped and reshaped in complex networks of mutual dependencies.

In this context, MEDEA focused on the livelihoods and strategies of relevant actors and stakeholders in the steel industry. Researchers considered country-specific historical trajectories, focusing in particular on developments in post-world war II and post-authoritarian contexts, the effects of neo-liberalism, industrialisation, national economic strategy shifts, world markets, privatisation in industry and technological change.

The project tracked the relationship between employment, skills and economic models, with a focus on institutional and personal trajectories. Skills and education were identified as a central theme that offered important insights into the interface of policy, entrepreneurial strategies, and local contexts and populations. Data sets on firms, households and work experiences were compiled to enable future research and testing of the project findings.

Theoretical engagement with models and transnational flows informed the development of a framework for the analysis of global processes. It also granted a greater understanding of the relationships between local and global forces. Project efforts, documented on the MEDEA website, also led to a number of policy recommendations that, if implemented, will impact livelihoods as well as national economies for the better. MEDEA thus contributed empirically and conceptually to current debates on national, regional and global economic models, their trends and their effects.

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