The research

The problem that rEUsilience tackles is of lack of adaptive capacities -understood from a familial rather than individual perspective- and resulting dilemmas and inequalities.

The context is one of fast-paced changes in labour markets and income security to which families have to act as key responsive entities by cushioning potentially negative impacts and enabling/disabling risk-taking and change. In focusing especially on families that are particularly affected by labour market risks, and seeking to understand the conditions that make for familial resilience more generally, the project answers two research questions:

1. What challenges and difficulties are created or exacerbated for families by labour markets in the ‘new world of work’ and how do families try to overcome these?

2. How do social policies contribute to familial resilience especially in terms of the extent to which they are inclusive, flexible and complementary?

To answer these questions rEUsilience looks at what different families actually do in situations calling for adaptiveness (e.g., need to change jobs or labour supply, need to manage or reorganise care for children or adults, need to change gender and/or generational arrangements, need to engage in training or other activities to garner additional resources) and identifies perceived trade-offs in the context of families’ relations, commitments and different resource levels. The project places these decisions and their outcomes in a societal and policy context through both pan-European analyses of existing data (on policy and practice) and new focus group research in six quite different welfare states (Belgium, Croatia, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK).

Taken as a whole, the project’s research will identify the level of risk and socio-economic insecurity faced by families across Europe and the relative resources and/or strategies of different family types to absorb socio-economic shocks by adjusting behaviours and structural arrangements and it will also critically examine the role of policy as a contributory factor to related processes and outcomes.

The project is organised into 2 pillars: a Stocktaking pillar and a Policy Lab. The stocktaking pillar allows us to address key gaps in knowledge on the distribution, cumulation and inter-relations between risks, resources, inequalities and resilience and the role of policy. The Policy Lab puts rEUsilience in road testing mode to explore the different policy solutions directly with citizens and experts. The project is motivated to start exploring the relationships between resources, resilience, and family life through a diverse methodology which includes focus group interviews, analysis of existing and bespoke survey data, critical analysis of policies, and policy micro-simulations.

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