Aims

1. To analyse how households have been affected by the financial crisis, and how they manage to cope.

The crisis has had a major impact right across Europe but with huge differences between countries. Unemployment has risen everywhere and so has the cost of living, but there is a lack of detailed analysis of how this has affected everyday lives and people's ability to bounce back. The RESCuE project will look in detail at the impact of the crisis on households and what people actually do to cope on an everyday basis.

2. To deepen the sociological understanding of resilience.

Resilience includes social, cultural and economic practices. The RESCuE project will break new ground by developing a definition of resilience from the bottom up, bringing together understandings of these diverse practices from a range of different academic perspectives.

3. To explore everyday practices of resilience through ethnographic research and the development of innovative qualitative methods.

RESCuE will supplement more established research methods (such as individual and group interviews) using innovative visual ethnographic methods. Research participants will be able to present their own perspectives on their lives using cameras supplied by the project. Their photographs will feed into RESCuE’s ethnographic, ‘grounded theory’ approach, helping produce a deep and rounded picture of resilience in practice.

4. To develop a holistic multi-faceted understanding of citizens’ resilience strategy encompassing economic, social and cultural aspects.

Households develop resilient strategies by mobilising a range of economic, social, cultural and personal resources. Drawing on concepts from sociology, psychology, anthropology and economics, the project will survey the resources available to households and their ability to deploy them. RESCuE sees household members as actors making decisions in a framework of social, cultural, economic and political fields, structures and actors. This analytical framework encompasses economic strategies and practices in both the formal and informal economy, social relations at different levels, and cultural practices.

5. To evaluate the role of welfare state institutions and interventions for the resilience of households (as supportive, negligent, or restrictive).

To better understand resilience, households are considered as embedded in specific welfare states with their own particular institutions and rules. RESCuE will analyse the role of local welfare state institutions in shaping household practices of resilience and will examine if and how institutions may support, ignore or restrict household resilience.

6. To consider resilience as the outcome of practices of individuals, households, and communities.

RESCuE will focus especially on households, but will also consider household members as individuals who are also members of communities. RESCuE will therefore analyse how the resilience practices of households both interfere with and are interconnected within a community.

7. To examine differences and similarities of resilience in urban and rural areas.

Urban and rural areas are traditionally seen as having different social rules and presenting different social problems. This affects social encounters, social control, community life and cultural diversity. Urban and rural areas also offer different social, economic and cultural resources. RESCuE will examine how resilience differs between urban and rural areas and what features of the local political and economic environment are important for resilience. This will provide information about the diversity of frameworks, conditions and practices of resilience and provide insights into how socio-economic resilience can develop in different contexts.

8. To identify and reconstruct different patterns of resilience in a comparative typology.

RESCuE will adopt a comparative perspective, analysing resilience in a range of different countries and localities under different welfare state institutions and in different socio-economic environments. Drawing on this research, the project will synthesise these differences and diversities into a comparative typology of resilience and explore the sources of difference.

9. To deepen understanding of the intersections between gender, ethnicity, class and other social variables are relevant for the resilient practices of vulnerable households.

RESCuE will explore the influence of intersecting social inequalities such as gender, ethnicity and class on the development of resilient practices and their outcomes. It will explore the extent to which resources, as well as the abilities to mobilise them, are unequally distributed, which might not necessarily follow the typical inequality patterns of modern post-industrial market societies.

10. To disseminate the research results to the public, policy stakeholders and the scientific community.

Sharing the research results is a top priority for RESCuE, which will communicate in a variety of ways with the general public, journalists, policy stakeholders, and the scientific community. A core element of this dissemination will be a multi-lingual, Internet-based exhibition of the photographs and other research results. In each participating country, open events will be held for the media and policy stakeholders and members of the general public, who can also follow the project using social media. For scholarly audiences, academic journal articles and internationally-published books will be published.