Connecting Excluded Communities? Dr. Paul Benneworth, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, the Netherlands
Connecting excluded communities?Paper presented to “Role of the creative economy in developing and sustaining vibrant and prosperous communities in the UK”, Birmingham, 6th-8th December 2010 Dr. Paul Benneworth, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, the Netherlands
AcknowledgementsEconomic and Social Research CouncilUrsula, Peter & Laura (Programme)Funders‟ Group: hefce, SFC, DELNI, hefcwCo-researchers (David, Lynne, Catherine)CHEPS
Grand challenges & the Lund Declaration “European research must focus on the Grand Challenges of our time moving beyond current rigid thematic approaches” “Identifying and responding to Grand Challenges should involve stakeholders from both public and private sectors in transparent processes taking into account the global dimension.”Lund Declaration, July 2009
Related to wider societal shiftDivision of state: welfare vs policing From carrot-and-stick to carrots or sticksProblem at deep level for states Efficiency: waste of talent, policing costs Equity: no longer „democratic‟ societiesIncreasing threats of societal disturbance Riots in Paris, Lancs, Utrecht … Localised famines in developed countries?
A „sea change‟ in community involvement in research?CURAs in Canada as a „science shop‟ forcommunity partnersIdea evolved to put community on parity withuniversities in terms of governance, fundingCommunity access to resources for proposalwriting, research, dissemination, wind-upHelping to have research interests of minoritycommunities placed onto the agenda.
The connected communities programme“to mobilise the potential for increasingly inter-connected communities to enhance self-reliance,regeneration, sustainability, health & well-being bybetter connecting research, stakeholders andcommunities.”“Engagement with communities at all stages of theresearch will be a key feature. ““Connect research expertise and data relevant tocommunities from across the research base … todevelop a more holistic understanding of communitylife rather than tackling issues in isolation. “
The challenge… Success of connected communities depends on success of engaging with excluded communities BUT not easy communities for researchers and universities to deal withHow can universities/ researchers engage with communities and embed their research in interests of socially excluded communities?
Social exclusionSubstantial challenge for national socio-economic cohesion (ASE, 2007)Individuals in a variety of segmented markets(Gordon et al, 1982)Overlapping segmentation drivers (Stoeger,2009)Geographical self-selection (plus geographicalmarkets) socially excluded communities
Social exclusion processes (I)Allocation mechanism Exclusionary processLabour market Short-term, flexible, vulnerable contracts with limited benefits and opportunities to save. Workfare contracts enforcing long hours in return for welfare payment, no capital formationHousing market Restriction to remote, undesirable parts of city with limited service provision, poor accessibility, hidden costs of transport, caring responsibilities. High rents for poor quality housing limiting saving and housing market progression; ‘red lining’, negative equity.Education provision Discriminatory access requirements based on existing pupils or residence base – inner city schools. Limited progression and participation through education system, access only to part-time, low- cost higher ed.Access to transport Transport network goes through, not into, area, bringing all costs and no benefits. Poor public transport raises commuting times and reduces opportunities to networks with people in other suburbs.Health services Restriction/ rationing of service provision even where theoretical entitlement exists. Shift from public health to emergency health measures, limited preventative/ elective activities
Social exclusion (II)Mechanism Exclusionary processKinship ties Fragmentation of coherent family units across urban area reducing opportunities for interaction and informal provision Emphasis on household survival strategies reduces opportunities for capital formation and pooling at family level.Governance networks Political representatives excluded from decision-making venues because no interest in constituency. Community voice excluded from governance networks because seen as being pathological or unreasonable.State violence monopoly Retreat of police from problem areas, increased costs and pressures of criminality Territorial profiling and emphasis on enforcement rather than welfare functions of law services.Production networks Failure to benefit from employment created through local investments in infrastructure and inward investment Limited workforce progression from informal-local sector to formal-external sector.Private services Low levels of services for high costs through de facto monopoly situations (e.g. water provision) Reliance on informal servicesFinancial services Failure to benefit from cost reductions for secure payments –(e.g. direct debit discounts); time and monetary costs of up-front payments. Reliance on doorstep lending and exclusion from formal credit markets, reducing opportunities for capital formation.
Cutting the Gordian knot?How to improve the structural situation ofexcluded communities? Addressing multiple dimensions of exclusion simultaneously Self-reinforcement expressed in political systems Building up „social capital‟ in these communities
The double bind of exclusion Stakeholders ‘do’ to community Key governance ‘Community’ and multi- national Internal fragmentation production networks External distantiation
Universities fitting thecommunities into their networks
Engagement in university context Universities have a wider societal mission … … but no general duty to everyone. Universities are institutions in the world… …who have specific spatial footprints. Universities are places of general access… …who are increasingly regulating access. Universities are communities of scholars … …dependent on corporate structures.
Engagement as benefitEasy to attack straw man of engagement Many versions of engagement are not university core tasksFrom engagement as duty to engagement asan opportunity Problem-framing: seeing behind the wall Theoretical: challenging assumptions Empirical: new perspectives on old situations Analytic: challenging findings Impact: defined, existing user groups
Challenges for engaged research with excluded communities1. False dichotomy with relevance2. Related to (dying) idea of academic freedom3. Excluded community as quiet stakeholder4. Limited pressure from principals for „real‟ engagement5. Focus on service delivery not research programme6. Divergence of interests in applications stage
Newcastle: engagement inenvironment and sustainability Work on mine-water remediation & groundwater energy Drawing on knowledge of former miners/ mining communities £10ms research council funding SRIF, RDA, DECC…
From „big narratives‟ to „little projects‟ Fallacious to claim all researchers should only do engaged research It is difficult to imagine, for example, how particle physics could submit to [engaged research methodologies] when, in order to succeed, it had to cut itself off from the public and work in the secrecy of its laboratories, behind huge esoteric equipment. On the other hand, the organisation and production of knowledge on problems concerning the environment, health or food safety could easily fit into [democratic oversight or co-production models] and the hybrid forums they organise”. (Callon, 2002, p. 93-94)
Projects as pieces of a „jigsaw‟ Building a new society with fewer barriers and problems than hitherto, including for socially excluded groups
How does „your‟ jigsaw piece fit? With personal intellectual trajectory? With university‟s corporate interests? With the interests of funders (e.g. AHRC)? With partners‟ needs (excluded communities)? With creating solutions to exclusion problems?