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Research project

SOCIOBORD - Social politics in European borderlands: a comparative and transnational study, 1870s-1990s

This project seeks to reframe the history of welfare and social care in modern Europe by restoring to view the contributions of local actors – primarily families and associations – to welfare systems in three borderlands: Galicia, the North-eastern Adriatic, and the Franco/Belgian/German border regions.

This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 882549)

By focusing on the interactions among local actors and following developments from the late 19th century to the 1990s, this project turns our attention to the co-construction of welfare by public and private actors in highly mixed borderlands. In these lands, the reach of central states often fluctuated, and a range of local welfare structures based on both national and non-national forms of identity/solidarity (e.g., occupation or religion) flourished. The focus on overlapping and, at times, competing structures of social provision allows this project to examine the interplays between inclusion and exclusion that have long shaped European welfare provision, by zeroing in on those contexts where such competition was particularly visible. We will do this by placing intensively researched local studies in comparative and transnational frameworks, and examining similarities and differences between north-western, eastern, and south-eastern borderlands while tracing the circulation of ideas, people, and practices. We believe that the long-range historical study of local actors’ ideas and practices around social welfare in European borderlands has much to tell us about the development of welfare across Europe in general. This comparative and transnational analysis of the three borderlands will thus enable us to contribute constructively to contemporary societal debates about welfare reform at a time when the social rights (or lack thereof) of populations in Europe are the subject of acrimonious, even violent, debate.

The team

Group members

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