Local stakeholder workshops in Barcelona

11th December 2008

Among the consensual issues to be improved or investigated were: the transversal key-importance of public data availability to foster the construction of local indicators on social exclusion; the analysis of current transformation of welfare systems; the ways in which labour markets and housing conditions are defining exclusionary trajectories; the transversal analysis of gender inequalities; the weakness of social networks among sectors of the population and the decline of voluntarism. Participants were particularly critical about the development of participatory methodologies. They pointed out that research should focus on the objectives, means and outcomes of participatory democracy and the pitfalls involved in considering participation and end in itself forgetting fundamental objectives. The importance of reevaluating the role of the third sector and civil society organisations in addressing social cohesion was also stressed. Finally, three important challenges for governance and social cohesion to be taken into account in the future research were addressed: 1) social cohesion may be strong at the neighbourhood scale, but not at the city or metropolitan scales; 2) multi-scalar relations in mobility and their relation to the diagnosis of social inequality; (3) the inflation of regulations and programmes which aim at improving social cohesion can reflect the lack of coordination or point out conflicting purposes.

On the 19th and the 26th of January smaller meetings took place for produce the final report of the workshop.

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