Research Project led by Prof. Marco Giugni.

How can the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) effectively contribute to the integration of those left-behind by the declining social aid and create solidarity for these vulnerable groups?



Since 2008, the European Union has become synonymous with crises: the economic crisis, the Eurozone crisis, and finally the refugee crisis. As a result of the financial crises and ensuing cuts in social spending, European societies further witnessed the weakening of solidarity policies for the social protection of the unemployed native-born, the migrants, and the newly arrived refugees. At the same time a rise in xenophobia and populist politics that blamed migrants and refugees for the economic upheavals and the struggle of the local communities could be observed.

Against this background, this research project aims to examine how the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) can effectively contribute to building solidarity, protecting and integrating refugees, migrants, and the unemployed native-born within local communities and into labour markets, and what enabling policy environments are required. The potentials, challenges and tensions involved in this regard within a context of austerity and welfare retrenchment, growing xenophobia and populist politics will also be assessed.

The research aims at generating evidence and policy suggestions to maximize the potential of SSE actors to integrate refugees, migrants, and the unemployed native-born at local level, and to create spaces and relationships of solidarity in times of controversy. Three localities will be examined as case studies: Geneva (Switzerland), Bergamo (Italy), and Heraklion (Greece). Ultimately, the project’s comparative findings will inform scholarly and policy debates, by providing concrete recommendations on the SSE potential for addressing vulnerable groups in highly contentious times.

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