1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Blogs and Think Pieces

Highlights ...

Fault Lines and Front Lines: Shifting Power in an Unequal World

Fault Lines and Front Lines: Shifting Power in an Unequal World (31 Oct 2018) | Katja Hujo, Maggie Carter

Economic and social inequalities have grown within and between countries over recent decades, with the growing divide between the privileged and the rest fracturing society in new and more dramatic ways. In a context where governments have agreed to redouble efforts to address inequalities as part of their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, this introductory think piece to the UNRISD series Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization raises questions around the drivers and consequences of inequalities, and how people, communities, social relationships and institutions are shifting, adapting and innovating in response to them.


Shrinking Opportunities: Social Mobility and Widening Inequality in Vietnam

Shrinking Opportunities: Social Mobility and Widening Inequality in Vietnam (20 May 2019) | Andrew Wells-Dang and Vu Thi Quynh Hoa

Rising inequality is threatening Vietnam’s continued socio-economic development. Young people have fewer opportunities for higher earnings and improved social status than a decade ago. These trends make it harder for Vietnam to meet its commitments to achieve the SDGs and stand in contrast with its past experiences of inclusive growth. Our research shows how social mobility can provide a window into understanding mechanisms of inequality, especially among youth and disadvantaged social groups such as ethnic minorities. For many young people, industrial-led development is not delivering on expectations of greater social mobility.


Also...

Acciones para enfrentar la crisis global de aprendizajes en México: el caso de la Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes (MIA)

Acciones para enfrentar la crisis global de aprendizajes en México: el caso de la Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes (MIA) (23 Apr 2019) | Felipe J. Hevia, Samana Vergara-Lope

En zonas rurales y urbanas marginales del sureste de México se están desarrollando innovaciones educativas por parte de una alianza de organizaciones civiles y académicas denominada Medición Independiente de Aprendizajes—MIA. Su objetivo es mejorar los aprendizajes básicos y reducir las brechas de desigualdad educativa a través de la participación comunitaria. Los resultados obtenidos sugieren efectos positivos en Lectura y Matemáticas, y alta motivación de voluntarios, tutores y de los propios niños y niñas. Este modelo permite que la participación comunitaria genere cambios significativos en las desigualdades educativas. La simpleza y sistematicidad de sus procesos permiten su reproducción en diversas regiones de América Latina y el Caribe.


La promoción de cooperativas como política de inclusión por el trabajo en Argentina. Desafíos en el escenario socio-económico y político actual

La promoción de cooperativas como política de inclusión por el trabajo en Argentina. Desafíos en el escenario socio-económico y político actual (7 Mar 2019) | Malena Victoria Hopp

Desde 2003 se implementaron en Argentina programas de generación de cooperativas como estrategia de inclusión por el trabajo. Este ensayo analiza las potencialidades de estos programas y explora qué sucede cuando se les elimina, como ocurrió luego del cambio de gobierno en 2015. La nueva orientación de política pública debilitó el apoyo al trabajo cooperativo y favoreció la concentración de poder, derivada de la unificación de la elite política y económica. El reemplazo de cooperativas por transferencias de ingresos rompe con los espacios colectivos de trabajo y contribuye a profundizar desigualdades, mediante la individualización y asistencialización de las intervenciones sobre el desempleo y la pobreza.


Acting Against Their Own Interests: Why Elites Should Be More Progressive Than They Typically Are

Acting Against Their Own Interests: Why Elites Should Be More Progressive Than They Typically Are (15 Feb 2019) | Matias López

Could social policies to redistribute wealth and shore up democracy be in the interests of powerful and wealthy elites? According to interdisciplinary research, the answer is yes, as inequality entails several negative consequences that affect elite security. Yet as inequality increases, we are not seeing many changes in elites’ largely negative attitudes to such policies. This think piece argues that the way elites perceive inequality, not their actual material interest, is getting in the way of progress.


Human Rights and New Technologies: Setting the Agenda for Human Rights-Centred Innovation

Human Rights and New Technologies: Setting the Agenda for Human Rights-Centred Innovation (15 Feb 2019) | Molly K. Land

For technology to have a transformative effect on human relations, we must be far more mindful of who builds it, for what purposes, and what kinds of power and privilege are embedded within it. This think piece looks at a case study in South Africa where technology and harms to rights went hand in hand.


Vers une production juste et égalitaire des connaissances sur les inégalités sociales

Vers une production juste et égalitaire des connaissances sur les inégalités sociales (16 Jan 2019) | Baptiste Godrie

Le fonctionnement du monde académique et la production des connaissances scientifiques peuvent expliquer la persistance, voire l’aggravation des inégalités sociales. Pour comprendre ce constat, il faut au préalable rappeler que les inégalités sociales ont des répercussions dans le domaine de la connaissance. Lutter contre les inégalités sociales passe donc irrémédiablement par une réduction des inégalités dans la production des connaissances scientifiques et par l’instauration d’une véritable écologie des savoirs, c’est-à-dire de rapports justes entre les savoirs. Les recherches qui associent les groupes qui subissent les inégalités à la production des connaissances jouent, de ce point de vue, un rôle significatif.


Including Working Class People in the Transition to Sustainability

Including Working Class People in the Transition to Sustainability (20 Dec 2018) | Karen Bell

According to the IPCC, we need to take urgent and effective action on climate change to prevent irreversible damage to our planet and its ability to sustain us. What is it that stops a critical mass of people from coming together to advocate for environmental and social justice, as well as to make personal choices that will benefit the environment? Karen Bell explores the notion of environmental classism, or how divisions between different social classes undermine a sense of common purpose, and how to ensure that working-class people can be better included in the transition to sustainability.


Safe Havens for Economic Elites and their Wealth: Money, Visas and Artwork

Safe Havens for Economic Elites and their Wealth: Money, Visas and Artwork (12 Dec 2018) | Andrés Solimano

Personal wealth is very concentrated in small economic elites: according to the Credit Suisse 2017 Global Wealth Report, those with net wealth over USD 1 million represent nearly one percent of the total adult population but own an overwhelming 46 percent of the world’s personal wealth. So where do the very rich place their assets and where do they choose to reside? This think piece considers three factors which influence their decisions and suggests that fair taxation and regulation may be part of the solution to this damaging concentration of extreme wealth.


Gone Fishing or Gone Organizing? Multi-level Community Development as a Pathway to Reduced Inequalities

Gone Fishing or Gone Organizing? Multi-level Community Development as a Pathway to Reduced Inequalities (31 Oct 2018) | Peter Westoby

Community development is often thought to be about “sitting under the mango tree” together, but if we want to make it work really effectively for marginalized people, we need to think bigger. This is the premise of this think piece, which argues that a multi-level community development framework is needed which scales grassroots social innovations up and across levels of intervention. Two examples from South Africa and Uganda show how multi-level community work has served to reduce inequalities in access to land and protection of the commons.