Social Innovation to Address Social Exclusion Among Youth: The Case Study of Two Deprived Neighbourhoods in Barcelona

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:55
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Olga JUBANY, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Berta GUELL, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
We are currently living in a society very much shaped by a heterogeneous, fluid and shifting nature, which defines young people´s actions and interactions, and the way they address emerging challenges. Amongst these, the current crisis and background of austerity policies are no doubt a main concern that affects them. New patterns of social inequalities have emerged, characterised by unforeseen rates of unemployment, discontinuities in education trajectories, delays in emancipation from the parental home and a dramatic decay in welfare provisions. In this framework, cosmopolitan cities like Barcelona are spaces where such inequalities are especially evident, yet with significant intra-territorial differences.

Stemming from the original data gathered within a current multisited ethnographic investigation across 10 EU countries, this paper aims to examine social inequalities and socio-spatial exclusion experienced by young people in Barcelona. In particular, it analyses the recent history of the social and urban development of two neighbourhoods during the last four decades to identify different patterns in the responses to social exclusion. The location of the neighbourhoods, the urban regeneration policies, the programmes of social intervention, the presence (or absence) of collective action and the socio-demographic changes in both areas are key elements that have shaped different ways of tackling inequalities through social innovation. Notwithstanding the normative connotations of this concept, we argue how social innovation has been promoted by social policies and institutions, but also by civil society and young people themselves. This relates to the classic debate on bottom-up or top-down schemes of governance, with varying degrees of organisation and institutionalisation. The results evidence two heterogeneous and dynamic models of approaching social innovation: a traditional self-management approach increasingly disarticulated in one area, and an assistance-related approach with growing competition and privatisation in the other one.