Tackling Social Exclusion through Social
An inclusive Europe:
Building a more inclusive Europe is vital to achieving the EU's
goals of sustained growth, more and better jobs and greater
social cohesion. At a time when inequality and exclusion are
on the increase, they must be tackled through evidence-based
The Social Inclusion Process established by EU leaders in
and create a stronger basis for policy-making. Emphasis has
been placed on involving a wide range of social inclusion
actors, not least those who are experiencing poverty and those
who are working with them. The KATARSIS project analyses the
exclusion” for short. SCS often use knowledge and resources in
ways that trigger social innovation and effectively promote
inclusion, empowerment and socio-economic development. So
they open up new avenues for policy design and
implementation. KATARSIS is also helping to identify the best
for research teams to exchange knowledge and work towards
better integration of research programmes and strategies.
EUROPEAN POLICY BRIEF
Employment in a whole range of socially creative sectors is
SCS for job creation may concern the public, for-profit and
economies, or else more typically the social economy
(cooperatives, mutualities and associations). In either case,
they should be fostered as they have the potential to meet
unmet needs and promote emancipation.
The success of these SCS is highly dependent on spatial
Reliance on the non-profit sector or the social economy may
associated with the rolling back of the welfare state or when
institutional leverage fails.
To promote SCS in the employment sphere, public policy
networks, access resources in a sustainable manner and
promote diversity of opportunity.
Education and training
Three key types of exclusion are identified: exclusion from
the outcome of education.
SCS can challenge the dominant neo-liberal rationale within
integration, the reflection of diversity, the meeting of present-
day social needs, linkage with the labour market, interaction
and new forms of learning.
The SCS concerned are of three types:
Those that mix activities which are adaptive to
conflict with it
Those that give visibility and relevance to the
different non-dominant social groups, and
acknowledge their participation.
The outcomes of Type 1 SCS show that a macro-level
SCS entail committed partnership with local authorities and
social services, associations with the private sector and
mainly local-level funding. Type 3 SCS work in two
directions at the same time: enhancing cultural diversity and
promoting social inclusion in forms of governance, e.g. by
creating more customised education and training institutions.
Researchers adopt different methods for analysing the three
range of methods for Type 2, but principally the neo-
positivist approach; and mainly participatory action research
for Type 3.
Successful educational SCS tend to:
regards both financing and content
include some element of adaptation to the
KATARSIS expresses a preference for educational SCS that
aim at integrating the alternative values of the excluded groups
within a more open education system.
overcrowding and living in accommodation which is in
disrepair or has inadequate facilities. This form of exclusion
may involve discrimination as regards entitlement or on
grounds such as ethnicity, as well as such processes as
gentrification or housing privatisation.
Exclusion through housing arises from social polarisation
disadvantages and poor access to transport, opportunities
These issues provide great scope for mobilising SCS – e.g.
grassroots neighbourhood organisations. NGOs, even if
large and formal rather than “bottom-up”, also often play a
major innovative role here.
Cut-backs in the State's direct role have left space for more
studies suggest that bottom-up creativity needs institutional
support from a strong welfare state network.
Health and environment
By focussing on the local level, innovative SCS were
and promote well-being.
In particular, good practices in social innovation were noted
consumption of local food
producing innovative design solutions to traffic
problems and the use of public space.
placing research results in four main categories:
Europe to challenge the dominance of cars and
increase pedestrians' and cyclists' access to
community organisations that work in less
and focus on the neighbourhood
socially creative individuals, whose ideas have
social innovation by local authorities, often
implementation of the UN's sustainable
Governance and democracy
Policy-making should aim to foster democracy as regards
making and their access to social services, via universal
social, economic and civic rights.
Many new governance arrangements are ambiguous. Along
transformations have led to privatisation, liberalisation, the
promotion of private-public partnerships and an emphasis on
managerial governance practice. So short-term cost
efficiency is often achieved at the expense of long-term
efficacy and democracy.
Bottom-up initiatives risk being caught in the “localist trap”.
into a broader context).
The welfare state continues to exist in various new forms,
concentration of power in the hands of the primary elite
actors. Bottom-up participation can be a step towards socio-
economic democratisation of the welfare state, but does also
involve the risk that social movements may be co-opted by
An overview of the different entry points that have led to
An examination of the possibility and desirability of putting
innovation inquiries and designs.
An assessment of research methods on social innovation.
A shared language for social innovation research.
An understanding of the policy relevance and dynamics of
A complementary and multi-agent approach to combating
Better models of communication and coordination among
practioners), especially through relevant interactive methods
that give citizens a voice.
Links among actors involved in this field from different
Arts and culture should be seen as a key element in urban
The “effectiveness” of local, socially embedded cultural and
Socially creative bottom-up strategies are usually not
So a balance has to be struck between regulation and
support on the one hand and room for creativity on the other.
Thus, it is better to promote “bottom-linked” rather than
Make existing local SCS (socially creative strategies to
Network and connect research on SCS at the local,
regional and national levels.
Create a common theoretical and methodological
Draw lessons from these socially creative initiatives and
Establish a more encompassing European research and
Develop joint research projects at various levels (local,
Influence national research programmes by building
Capitalise on “locally funded” research programmes and
Contribute to the development of cooperation networks
form of sustainable Social Platforms.
Help shape the European social, regional, education,
local SCS about how to overcome social exclusion.
Research on SCS against social exclusion requires methods
that meet all of the following criteria: identification and
understanding of the roles of all the actors involved, the social
and cultural relations of which they are part, the agendas for
change that they pursue, and institutional dynamics that support
or hamper their actions. So the following methodological
perspectives must be combined:
Sociology of knowledge and practice together with action
research in order to understand the institutional and socio-
cultural context and changes within which the actors operate
Transdisciplinary analysis of the roles of different types of
SCS actor and guarantees of their involvement in the
research activity itself
and post-structuralist approaches to
understanding the creativity of actors in the search for social
innovation within a complex socio-cultural world.
To provide an up-to-date review of the specific
innovative and/or creative ways in which groups particularly
hard-hit by exclusion have responded.
To examine how those consequences have been
To review attempts to integrate various approaches into
at overcoming social exclusion, and to link this overview to
broader debates about social science methodologies.
To develop new methods for analysing SCS and for
methodology will later be used to guide a wider scientific
discussion of both the policy and the practice of SCS.
Survey of the literature on social exclusion and SCS in five
education and training
housing and neighbourhoods
health and the environment
governance and democracy.
With the aim of integrating policy and collective action
Development of methodologies for researching into the
organisation and impact of socially innovative initiatives.
Dissemination of the outcomes, notably to practitioners
and policy-makers in the field of social inclusion,
empowerment and participation.
Frank Moulaert in collaboration with Jean Hillier, Newcastle
Dept. of Sociology and Social Research, Milan-Bicocca University
Centre for Public Health Research, University of West England
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie,
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Centro de Estudos Geográficos, Universidade de Lisboa
Institute for Economic Geography, Regional Development and
Environmental Management, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien
Research Centre on Citizenship and Civil Society, Universitat de
Stichting Dr. Hilda Verwey-Jonker Instituut, Utrecht
Institute for Social Issues, Masaryk University
Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, National Technical University of
IFRESI-CNRS, Délégation Nord Pas de Calais Picardie, Lille
Wales Institute for Research into Co-operatives, University of Wales
CERISIS, Université Catholique de Louvain, Charleroi
CRISES, Université du Québec à Montréal
Rijksuniversiteit Gent, Centre for Intercultural Communication and
Abaton S.r.l., Rome
Corvinus University, Budapest
Centre for Urban Studies, Roskilde University
Centre de recherche et d'information sur la démocratie et l'autonomie,
DG Research Project Officer: Pia Laurila,
May 2006 – December 2009
6th Framework Programme,
Priority 7, Citizens and governance
in a knowledge-based society, Coordination Action
Contact Frank Moulaert (
Research papers and work-package reports are available at