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WP3 - Diagnosis of the social damage of the crisis

This WP focuses on the lived experience of vulnerable people, the impact of the crisis (and crisis‐related policy reform) on vulnerable groups as well as the impact of growing inequality and social vulnerability on distrust.


Whereas the trends in ‐ and causes of ‐ increased inequality and social exclusion have already been extensively, the economic, social, cultural and political consequences of this growing divide are less clear. Wilkinson and Pickett (2009) argue that growing inequality affects people’s psychological health, trust, the overall social climate, and indirectly also boosts violence, racism, mental illness, infant mortality, suicide etc.

Our first key hypothesis in this regard is that growing distrust and indeed resentment among the population may be attributed to (a rejection of) the neoliberal policies employed by national as well as European elites in recent years.

The second key hypothesis of this work package is that this integrated diagnosis can build on the idea of the erosion of/disinvestment in (individual and collective) capabilities and basic social rights in the EU. This means that experiences of insecurity, poverty and social degradation need to be re‐analysed from those perspectives.

Social disinvestment and vulnerable groups in Europe in the aftermath of the financial crisis – synthesis report: available on request.

To do

WP3 of the project will begin with qualitative research on the experience of vulnerable groups in each of the 12 countries (13 regions) participating in RE‐InVEST. Mixed teams of researchers, NGO‐ and union workers, practitioners and people from vulnerable groups will jointly analyse cases where the crisis has impacted on human rights and (individual as well as collective) capabilities.

The collected testimonies will be cross‐validated with a report describing trends in selected quantitative indicators that reflect the relation between socio‐economic vulnerability, human rights and capabilities.

A third element will consist of a statistical analysis of the dynamic relationship between vulnerability, shifts in social policies and trust: in which sections of the population has the trust in institutions declined most? Can different patterns between countries be observed, and can they be explained by differences in policy shifts and differences in resilience of civil society?

A European synthesis report will combine the main findings from the three previous stages.