Welfare and Values in Europe
Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Ziebertz and Dr. Ilona Biendarra
This project will be carried out in cooperation with a international research group which is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Anders Bäckström, Uppsala University. The project is financially supported by the EU 6th framework programme.
This project aims to generate new insight into the religious, minority and gendered values which influence social cohesion and social change in European society. Innovative in scope and methodology, this study captures a set of complex relations between religion, minorities and gender, because it is at the juncture of these three domains that some of the sharpest transitions in value systems are taking place in Europe. WAVE is predicated on the assumption that intangible concepts such as 'cultural identities' and 'values' are understood best through the ways in which they are expressed and developed in practice. It will suggest best practices of tolerance and social cohesion through the systematic comparison of case studies covering a broad range of majority religions, minority situations, and gender regimes. The project will incorporate close interaction with stakeholders in a process of informing citizens about EU objectives related to the research as well as transmitting their views on local policies to the EU.
The project examines the interaction of diverse value systems through the prism of welfare. Who provides what to whom, and for what reasons, are critical markers of the values of a given community – as are who demands what and for what reasons. WAVE will entail in-depth qualitative research in medium-sized towns in twelve European countries.
By examining social interaction in the domain of provision of basic needs, WAVE aims to: a. assess the impact of religion in societies across Europe as a bearer of values of solidarity and social cohesion, or as a source of tension and exclusion; b. to study the values expressed by minority groups and the extent to which minorities are perceived to challenge the values and cultural identities of the local majorities (and vice versa); and c. to examine whether there are particular elements of tension or cohesion embedded in values relating to gender and to the rights and needs associated with women and with men.
Hermeneutical and qualitative empirical research