The project explores the practice of social entrepreneurship in Sweden and Poland, its role in the emergence of new civic initiatives for dealing with exclusion and market failures in the Polish and Swedish labor markets, and the policy tools created, at local and national levels to facilitate them. The prime research focus is on bottom-up action. The institutional features of the respective labor market, and the regulatory and facilitative activity (the later, primarily through framework programs) of the EU in this field, form the institutional backdrop of the processes studied.
Thematically, the project addresses the theme of democracy and welfare. The introduction of EUs social agenda that targets issues of social cohesion and employment occupies a central place in the ongoing enlargement process. Swedish experience indicates that accession is likely to stimulate the emergence of new initiatives on the interface between new and traditional systems in the field of labor-market integration. A comparable process that is currently unfolding in the new accession countries opens a range of institutional alternatives.
The project explores emergent alternatives, in the case of Sweden and Poland, and the course actually chosen. Theoretically, the project develops further the foundations laid by the European EMES thematic network and the PERSE project, and connects to the research on social enterprise and social capital conducted by the CONSCISE project and to my previous research on institutional transformation. The themes dealt with are:
Methodically, it focuses on the generation of theory from the comparative aggregation and study of case studies, in Sweden and Poland.
Academically and logistically, the project is based on cooperation with the University of Lódz. It also draws on ENTERforum extensive network of academic ties in Poland, and on the scientific network of the EMES network.