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Recent Policy and Politics of the European Union and the Effect on Welfare – Implications for Research
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Recent Policy and Politics of the European Union and the Effect on Welfare – Implications for Research

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Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
In this article, whichwas originally presented as a speech at the 4th International Conference... mehr
Recent Policy and Politics of the European Union and the Effect on Welfare – Implications for Research
In this article, whichwas originally presented as a speech at the 4th International Conference for Research in Diaconia and Christian Social Practice, held in Stockholm in September 2013, an examination is made of the current political and social context of Europe today and the implications for diaconia in general andmore specifically the possibilities for greater research as a result. Starting with the impact of the financial and economic crisis and the resulting social crisis in Europe a reflection ismade on the changes that have been seen with regards to the valuingof social protection schemes, the valuing of the person who has recourse to such schemes and the prevailing rhetoric of burden. The impact is widened out to a social impact and the various trends currently seen in Europe such as migration and individualisation. Social engagement is also changing and bringing with it a search for new ways of ‘being social’ and connectedness between people – summarised as a search for new singers with new songs. Diaconia must then respond to both the contexts and challenges and needs to be both proactive and re-active in our work and be ready to both identify gaps in service provision and be able to name and identify new forms of exclusion as well as be advocates for both services and users. Such opportunities reveal possibilities for research which could bring practitioners and researchers together to prepare and equip diaconia to deliver what our societies need, not just what we think they need.