European Participation Network

The research network called “European Participation Network” has produced a proposal (EUCIPMA) in the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission in order to maintain comparative European research on marginalised citizens' participation and the role of welfare services in enabling or hindering their full citizenship.The project includes eight partner universities in Europe and is coordinated coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä, Kokkola University Consortium, Finland.

The EUCIPMA (European Citizenship and Participation of Marginalised Groups) addresses the core challenges of European social cohesion and diversity. It will improve the comparative policy-related knowledge connected to the critique of citizenship and participation issues. The proposal’s main ideas are novel, insofar as they aim at discovering and promoting relevant practices that enable the participation of exactly those groups of citizens who are scientifically identified as being the most ‘non-participative’ in European societies in the field of traditional participation. The factors causing non-participation are complex and diverse, and can include unemployment, low income, low educational status, migration, or discrimination by gender or living areas. However, evidence also suggests that “non-participatory groups” often create other forms of participation themselves, including, civil society initiatives, self-organizations, and virtual participation.

The scientific expertise of the EUCIPMA consortium focuses on the link between the participation of marginalised citizens and the welfare service system. A large number of people within the target groups are users of various welfare agencies and social projects. The detailed research question of the proposal focuses on the role of relevant organizations, including welfare service agencies, EU-funded social projects and Civic Society Organizations (CSOs), in enabling or hindering participatory citizenship of disempowered groups.