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SEDEC Network

Comparative Social Inclusion Policies and Citizenship in Europe

Towards a new European Social Model

A TSER thematic Network

Summary of Work Programme

For additional information, see the SEDEC/CSIP pages at PERC

This project aims to explore and evaluate social inclusion policies in contemporary European society in comparative perspective through a structured programme of network-based social inquiry. Apart from the INPART-partners, the following participants contribute to the network:

  • the Interdisciplinary Centre for Comparative Research (ICCR), Vienna, Austria;
  • the University of Middlesex, London, United Kingdom;
  • the University of Bremen, Germany;
  • the Centre for Research and Information on Democracy and Autonomy, Paris, France;
  • the Fondazione Felicita Enrico Bignaschi, Milan, Italy;
  • the Social Research Unit, Helsinki, Finland;
  • the School of Social Work, Lund University, Sweden.

The network is co-ordinated by the University of Sheffield. For further information, please contact:

Maurice Roche

University of Sheffield
Elmfield Lodge, Elmfield
Northumberland Road
Sheffield S10 2TY
United Kingdom

1. Objectives

This network project aims to make a contribution to the search for a new European social model as a frame of reference for developing and evaluating alternative forms of socio-economic policy concerned with social inclusion within the European Union, both at national and EU level.

Furthermore, the project aims to analyse and evaluate contemporary socio-economic policy and processes. It will focus on types of policy which emphasise civil society's role in work and welfare policy. In particular, it will focus on policies concerned with atypical and innovative forms of work and employment. Its work will proceed by means of cross-national comparative contextual and policy reviews and also reviews of casestudies. We believe that these studies will have much to tell us about the key strategic socio-economic policy questions facing the EU and EU member states.

The project will explore and test the following general hypothesis: Social inclusion policies which give a positive and constructive role both, on the one hand to flexible forms of work, and also on the other hand, to principles of social inclusion, citizenship and civil society -other things being equal (e.g. material resources)- are perceived as being more effective and succesful by policy-makers, policy-implementers and policy-recipients than tradtional forms of social policy which marginalise these principles and which marginalise and even penalize these forms of work.

By addressing, exploring and assessing the hypothesis the project aims to develop an analysis of the inclusionary potential of a range of European social models and, relatedly, a citizenship-based approach to the evaluation and future development of social inclusion policies within EU member states and also at the EU level.

2. Objectives

1. To explore and assess the hypothesis the project will address both the national and the EU level in its work programme and in its four Work Packages (WP's). In WP1 it will begin by analyzing European social models in terms of their commonalities and their common and increasing responsiveness to EU economic integration and the creation of a multi-layered EU socio-economic policy space. It will continue by critically reviewing relevant typologies relating to the major types of modern social model in European societies. Among other things it will compare the role of contextual conditions in these social models, particularly the response of these models to structural changes and transnational conditions and factors such as globalisation and Europeanisation, and the impact of these factors on national experiences of exclusion problems and inclusionary needs. It will also compare the role of concepts of work, civil society and citizenship and the inclusionary potential of these social models. The review of social models and work/welfare regimes will include consideration of the contemporary relevance of influential versions such as Esping-Andersens typologies of welfare capitalism and the subsequent debates and developments of these typologies. Within this review it will consider current perspectives and debates on the claim that, in addition to the various northern european social models, a distinctive southern european model exists.

2. Given this background the project will test the hypothesis in more detail (in Work Packages 2 and 3) by exploring and evaluating policy frameworks, policies and practices across the majority of EU member states which aim to promote social inclusion through new approaches to work and welfare. Its reviews of policy cases will particularly focus on those emphasising flexible and innovative forms of work and related forms of welfare, and the development of the role of civil society in general in work and welfare policy. The various forms of work and welfare to be considered include parttime employment, work in the informal economy and the black economy, local work exchange and trading systems, the temporary employment of migrant labour and local community and family-based welfare and work. The project will focus on the participation of people in these fields in terms of some of the main categories of social division and disadvantage, namely class, gender, age and ethnicity. It will consider the situation of young people and also, to a lesser extent of ethnic minorities in particular. It will consider the support that such participation provides for people to enter, re-enter or engage more fully in the formal economy and formal employment, including formal training. It will consider issues of multicultural integration relevant to this participation. It will consider the general implications of such participation for people's social inclusion and for the development of social inclusion policies.

3. The project will culminate in Work Package 4 which will summarize and coordinate the work of WP's 1, 2 and 3 in relation to a review of the prospects for the future development of EU-level social inclusion and citizenship policies and related research.