MINELRES: New ECMI project on the aspect of culture in social inclusion

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Feb 12 18:56:21 2006


Original sender: William McKinney <mckinney@ecmi.de>


THE ASPECT OF CULTURE IN THE SOCIAL INCLUSION OF ETHNIC MINORITIES:
ASSESSING THE CULTURAL POLICIES OF SIX MEMBER STATES OF THE EUROPEAN
UNION
http://www.ecmi-eu.org/projects/omc/

The Project 

This project proposes to evaluate the cultural policies introduced in
National Action Plans (NAPs) on Social Inclusion under the European
Union's Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC) by six member states
(Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Sweden)
in terms of their impact on promoting social inclusion of ethnic
minorities, including Roma/Sinti groups. The specific added value of
this evaluation will be the piloting of a set of Common Inter-Cultural
Indicators (CICIs) feasible for cost-effectiveness analyses and
benchmarking within the EU.  

Although there is widespread agreement that "culture counts," there
seems less understanding of what it entails to address cultural aspects
of social exclusion. However, the evaluation of the success rate of
cultural policies raises a number of issues in terms of the definition
of culture. Do we operate with thin or thick definitions? Do we operate
with a bracketed definition, or must we take a holistic approach? What
areas of cultural life contribute to the promotion of social inclusion,
and which risk exclusion? How do we link culture to socio-economic
exclusion? Do we find the answers in the Gross Domestic Products, or
must we search for different sources? Not only does the complex reality
of culture make it difficult to define measuring tools, it has also been
almost impossible to map culture with a view to measuring and
benchmarking.

Defining a common framework of comparable cultural indicators is fraught
with problems and there is a general scepticism regarding the link
between culture and social inclusion. The complex reality of culture
renders the goal of seeking comparable indicators virtually
unattainable. However, even though precise rankings between member
states are not possible, broad comparisons are, and changes over time
can be discerned. There is therefore a dire need to seek to develop a
good working framework of cultural indicators that address the social
exclusion of members of ethnic minorities within the EU. 

Aims and Objectives 

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of cultural
policies of the NAPs of six member states aimed at the social inclusion
of ethnic minorities through the piloting of a framework of CICIs. With
the goal to enhance cultural policies in NAPs on Social Inclusion under
the EU's OMC process, a number of specific objectives will aide in
supporting this aim:   

* Improved NAPs through increased use of inter-cultural indicators in
policies on ethnic minorities, including Roma/Sinti groups;
 
* Improved inter-cultural indicators through the piloting of a feasible
framework of CICIs;
 
* Improved capacity of member states' agencies to define and use
inter-cultural indicators and integrate cross-sectoral co-operation; 

* Heightened awareness of previous applied research on the importance of
cultural policies on social inclusion;
  
* Improved knowledge and mutual learning of deficiencies in NAPs in
terms of inter-cultural indicators;
 
* Increased informing of other social inclusion policies;
 
* Enhanced capacity of the OMC to address inter-cultural challenges in
the area of ethnic minorities
 
Outputs

This project will contribute to the further development of NAPs in the
specific area of cultural policies aimed at promoting the social
inclusion of ethnic minorities by working with stakeholders in the
relevant ministries and government departments as well as civil society
throughout the process of the evaluation. Specific outputs will include: 

* Separate evaluation studies of six NAPs on Social Inclusion that
include cultural policies and represent member states of comparable
size;
 
* Comparative analysis of impact of cultural policies in NAPs on Social
Inclusion 
Comparative analysis of cost-effectiveness of cultural policies;
 
* Proposal for OMC framework of CICIs based on comparable member states
and drawing on a regional outlook
 
Methodology and Activities 

Phase One of the project consists of field research in each of the
selected member states involving sociological and cultural
anthropological studies as well as communication studies that survey
local actions and sources with a view to evaluate the extent of
inter-cultural dialogue, exchange and understanding as well as the level
of tolerance. Research tools will include stakeholder focus groups,
questionnaires, interviews and seminars. 

Phase Two comprises a major comparative study of the results found and
includes economic cost-effectiveness and benchmarking analyses. 

Workshop meetings for the consortium of research teams will be the main
transversal activities (February, July and October). A final
dissemination conference will introduce the results to the general EU
public in Flensburg (October). 

Project Partners

Estonia
Prof. Aksel Kirch
Institute for European Studies,
Audentes University
Tallinn 

Latvia
Prof. Brigita Zepa
Baltic Institute of Social Sciences
Riga

Czech Republic
Milada Horakova
Research Institute of Labour and Social Affairs
Brno

Slovak Republic
Dr. Michal Vasecka
Center for Ethnicity and Culture
Bratislava

Slovenia
Prof. Mitja Zagar
Institute for Ethnic Studies
Ljubljana

Sweden
Prof. Antoinette Hetzler
Department of Sociology
Lund University 
Lund 
 
Consultants 
Prof. Francois Grin
Universite de Geneve & Service de la recherche en education
Geneva, Switzerland 

Mr. Michele Gazzola
Ecole de traduction et d'interpretation,
Universite de Geneve 

Dr. Deborah Mabbett
Birkbeck College
University of London

Dr. Andreas Hieronymus
Institute for Migration and Racism Research
Hamburg
 
Contact Details

The Evaluation project on the Impact of Inclusion Policies under the
Open Method of Co-ordination is co-ordinated by the MEU Programme at the
European Centre for Minority Issues: 
 
OMC Evaluation 

MEU Programme
European Centre for Minority Issues
Schiffbruecke 12
D-24939 Flensburg
Germany

Phone: +49 461 19190
Fax: +49 461 1919919
E-mail: omc@ecmi-EU.org 
 
Project Director: 
Dr. Tove H. Malloy
Senior Research Associate,
Head, EU Programme,
ECMI

Project Manager: 
Ms. Denika Blacklock
Research Associate,
ECMI 
 
Scientific Consultant: 
Dr. Eben Friedman,
Regional Representative for Romani Integration
ECMI Macedonia 

The project is financially supported by European Union's Social
Protection and Social Integration Policy (Contract No.
VS/2005/0686)

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