School of Sociology and Social Policy

The Bauman Institute

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Shared Social Responsibility (2008 – 2011)

This new concept of shared social responsibility was developed by an Expert Advisory Group to the Council of Europe, in which the Bauman Institute was the only UK academic participant. Addressing key strategic challenges outlined in the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy and building upon important work done by the Council of Europe on the theme of social cohesion, this project looks to explore ways of implementing practically the notion of shared social responsibility into social and economic policy, as well as practices within both the public and private sector, in order to address the democratic deficit within modern nation states.

Background

Organised and led by the Social Cohesion Research Division at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, this project started in April 2009 by bringing together experts from across Europe in order to identify and assesses the best ways for Europe to respond to the challenges of the current economic crisis, the threat of climate change, and the loss of trust in democratic institutions and processes as shown through declining involvement of citizens in the public sphere.

The principal output of this major European project is the creation, production and ratification of a brand new European Charter of Shared Social Responsibilities, which was adopted by the European Commission in September 2011 as a part of its new Europe 2020 strategy. This means that the Bauman Institute at Leeds is uniquely placed to have a direct impact upon fundamental changes to existing governance structures in Europe and to play a leading role in further developing the concept of shared social responsibility.

The Project

The project here focused upon the consequences of economic recession and the subsequent response to that crisis at all levels, i.e. social, political, economic and environmental. Our starting point for the project is to recognise the continuing need to find social responsible mechanisms to ensure the welfare and well-being of all citizens, to seek adaptive solutions to climate change and the need to manage the transition to ‘low carbon’ living, and to explore the potential of social media and new technologies in addressing the democratic deficit within democratic states.

In each of these areas we want to assess the contribution that the concept of shared social responsibility can make to major policy processes and innovative business models in order to enhance the role of an engaged citizenship in reaching collective decisions about our shared futures and ensuring a positive legacy for future generations.

Opportunities

We are right now at the heart of major debates about global society and business in a way that will affect all of us and the way we do things in the future. With further investment in the capacity of the Bauman Institute, we can ensure that the University of Leeds maximises these opportunities and benefits as a world-leading research institution.

We are seeking financial support for the appointment of a new Research Fellow to lead this project, as well as offering opportunities to new PhD students and Masters students to study this area through the creation of postgraduate scholarships. Through our existing networks, these individuals would have the unique advantage of being able to influence these debates directly from the inside and thus make a major contribution to global society.

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