The Impact of Welfare Interventions on Life-Courses of Deprived Groups
Situations of poverty often result from cumulating barriers against participation in the labour market and society – such as low level of education and skills, problems of family care, health problems, difficult housing situation, etc. This can translate into “poverty careers”, meaning labour market inactivity or long-term unemployment, impoverishment and resignation towards democracy and society. Thus, for analysing active inclusion of groups with multiple disadvantages, a life-course perspective is important to assess the manner in which policies and services have tackled these culminated risks of poverty (e.g. inadequate education and professional skills, lack of sufficient means of social protection, marriage breakdown, immigrant background, etc.) and how they have impacted, reacted to and shaped the life courses of individuals. Research in WP 7 executes the following target: On the basis of narrative interviews, the contribution of local active inclusion policy to social inclusion is analysed for women and young people with multiple disadvantages dependent on minimum income schemes. We will focus especially on lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor. The questions to be analysed are:
- How do active inclusion policies towards beneficiaries of minimum income schemes address the specific problems of lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor along their life-courses and what are discriminatory factors of these policies that might impede the successful inclusion?
- How do lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor themselves experience and evaluate “targeted” policies and services?
- Do these policies contribute to improvement of their well-being understood as “the totality of an individual’s social relations”?
The analysis of interviews with persons with multidimensional problems will allow us to retrieve their personal narrative with regard to their subjective perception of and experiences with social cohesion policies delivery. It will also allow us to assess the impact of social and employment services on their life-courses, well-being, social inclusion and labour market participation. Assured by a gender-sensitive interview guideline we will be able to focus on relationships between gender and poverty along the life-course for all three target groups.
In the framework of WP 7, COPE will analyse the impacts of active inclusion policy (including its recent changes such as integration of formerly separated fields and growing importance of non-public actors) on life-courses of groups with multi-dimensional problems (especially lone mothers, long-term unemployed and working poor). Female and young interviewees which belong to these groups will be selected on the basis of information about country- region- and local-specific exclusionary factors gathered through the statistical data analysis operated in the frame of WP 3. In each country we will conduct 5-10 narrative interviews with beneficiaries of agencies providing minimum income schemes to assess the impact of social and employment services on vulnerable groups, their life-courses, well-being, social inclusion and labour market participation. The analysis of personal narratives conducted in the framework of this work package is complemented by the knowledge acquired in other parts of the research, such as the contextual and individual determinants of poverty and exclusion (WP 3) and the multilevel governance of minimum income schemes (WP 5 and WP 6), which will allow us to construct a typology of ‘poverty careers’ and to assess the impact of social and employment services on the life-courses of vulnerable groups as well as to reconstruct criteria for the success or failure of interventions and policies over the life-course (based on a qualitative evaluation in the interviews).