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Session Overview
RN08_01a_P: Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis (General Session I)
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Antti Silvast, University of Edinburgh
Session Chair: Eugenia Petropoulou, University of Crete
Location: PC.2.10
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 2.

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Multilevel governance and good government: A solution for urban poverty in Greece?

Dionyssis Balourdos1, Maria Petraki2

1National Centre for Social Research, Greece; 2National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

During the recession, a new surge of poverty struck urban areas in Greece. Slower economic growth both at national and local level, as well as the erosion of the welfare state, have contributed to this poverty surge. Moreover, there is a widespread perception that this poverty has become increasingly concentrated in certain neighborhoods, known as "inner city" or "poverty zone", and that such neighborhoods have mostly become the habitats of homeless, unemployed, immigrants groups and others. This is, of course, the one side of reality in Athens, as the “old poor” have become poorer and stay in poverty for extended periods of time, but at the same time, below the poverty line fall people who had never been there before.

The objective of this paper is (a) to approach methodologically urban poverty, (b) to describe briefly the situation in Greece compared with other EU countries, (c) to report on high-risk groups, (d) to examine whether the urban poverty is affected by the "quality of governance" and (e) to critically examine the question of why the possible policies addressing the phenomenon are not effective.

We use data from EU SILC and from a survey conducted in 2012 with a sample of 800 households of urban population (Athens municipality) in Greece. More precisely, statistical data will be discussed, with a view to focusing on proposals of new social interventions.

Our analysis suggests that the urban “new poor” groups should be recognized as a new target group. Thus active social policy should place emphasis on addressing the needs of this new group.

Gender-based violence and solidarity in times of crises: comparison of contexts of war and natural disasters

Anita Dremel, Irena Cajner Mraović

University of Zagreb/Croatian Studies

Our objective is to compare the criminogenic potential of crises resulting from war and natural disasters, respectively, as an indicator of a drop in solidarity, in relation to gender-based violence (GBV). Disasters usually lead to the weakening of social control, although some researchers consider this a myth. We will discuss previous research and seminal examples comparatively, and review main hypotheses, frequent myths and theoretical explanations of the rates of GBV in contexts of crises brought about by war and natural disasters. Then we will present results of our University of Zagreb-funded research on social control and deviance in disastrously flooded areas in Croatia in 2014, and compare them to the official data on reported GBV. Our results suggest that the rate of GBV in the context of crisis of solidarity, social control and cohesion brought about by natural disasters do not increase, unlike the rate of GBV in the context of war, which is extremely high. Theoretical explanation of this significant difference is based on studies of war and gender which see, among others, deep structures of patriarchy underlying socialization into gender identities as important factors in the reproduction of militarism. Raping of women is the most frequent form of GBV in war, and is a strategy of enemy feminisation as a form of symbolic domination. Our findings can help (social policy/education) reduce GBV as a global health and development problem that cannot be fully understood out of the context of social structure normativity – gender norms and gender roles, namely, support GBV and often make it tolerable or even invisible.

The Sociological Roots of Europe: Challenges, Prospects and the Way Forward

Atia Ali Kazmi

National University of Sciences & Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan

The sociological roots of Europe lie deep in the past and present of its development, organization, networks and institutions. The spectrum of practices and patterns of this social order and changes over the previous decades carry ample lessons not only for other regions but for Europe itself. Like a resident of Islamabad finds it unthinkable that South Asia can form an economic union, a Londoner or Parisian of 1918, who survived the Great War, would not relate to the “emphatic idea of Europe”. After World War II the notion of integration of Europe was seen as an “antidote” to the extreme nationalism which had distressed the continent. The European Union thus gradually emerged, comprising almost half a billion citizens, on the basis of shared vision and joint actions to make Europe strong and copiously unified, with a global strategy based on common foreign, security and economic policies.

There are lessons for South Asia in the making of Europe. Instead of zero-sum games reminiscent of pre-Cold War Europe, economic integration of South Asia can make one-fifth of world’s populace its power house. A workable idea is to foster space for inclusive and comprehensive peace, growth, prosperity and equal distribution of wealth. The research paper will focus on the possible pros and discontents of Europe’s sociological order from a South Asian perspective and navigate the contemporary course building on strengths and collective role.

Ways of cooperation with Roma migrants from illegal settlements in Poland.

Inga Hajdarowicz2, Katarzyna Czarnota1

1Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan; 2Jagiellonian University in Kraków

The phenomenon of migration and challenges in the new hosting country has been often analysed in relation to newcomers arriving from states outside of the European Union. However, in Poland these are the citizens of the EU who face discrimination. Systemic segregation and exclusion of economic Romanian Roma immigrants living in Poland since the 90s caused that this group is deprived of the right to work, health care, welfare and adequate housing.

In Poland only few non-governmental organizations and private persons try to cooperate with members of this community. Very often it means helping them without engaging Romanian Roma in decision-making processes what, in the long term, leads to designing activities that have negative impact on Romanian Roma community and strengthen existing power relations. Roma encampments built from recycled materials represent the most radical forms of collective response to the problem of lack of access to housing. Additionally, their homes are located in hidden areas inaccessible (eg. deserted allotments, wasteland on the outskirts of settlements, etc.), of the fear of aggression attacks.

During the presentation, the authors will conduct critical analysis of existing forms of cooperation with the community of Romanian Roma and the challenges faced by people who want to enter the emancipatory forms of cooperation with Roma immigrants (at the level of bottom-up and systemic projects). Based on the several years experience of cooperation with the Roma community possible fields of cooperation and barriers resulting primarily from the class differences between immigrants and the researchers and activists will be presented. The analysis will be based on the results of the intervention research project conducted at 6 encampments in Poland.

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