There are a number of innovative research projects which will be supported over the next twelve months to further investigate the key issues of inequality and to strengthen the connections between our partners.

 

The Power of Counter-Narratives?

Led by the Young Foundation

A research residency which explores how, and the extent to which, counter-narratives can be an important site of challenge and change.

Focusing on the unheard, alternative or counter-narrative in particular, and developing specific examples from the Young Foundation’s work in communities in the UK and with MONDRAGON (the world’s largest worker-led co-operative, based in Spain), the research will look at the ways in which counter-narratives expressed by seldom-heard groups develop new insights into the embodiment of inequality in everyday life and how it might be changed.

It will also explore how they are a part of resistance and struggle, and drive social mission and vision, for example shaping alternative means and modes of action, as well as broader challenges to orthodoxy, through exploring praxis; the relationship between thought and action.

The research is drawn from the Young Foundation’s recognition that narratives characterise and identify inequality problems as well as influence solutions. The Young Foundation has chosen to explore counter-narratives specifically to develop their work in this area to support communities, and as part of the post-holder’s (Dr Mary Hodgson) longstanding commitment to ethnographic work exploring diverse viewpoints on socio-political change and civic activists and social movement narratives. Results of the research will be shared with the III and Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity as part of their curriculum, and the tools will be used in on-going Young Foundation work.

 

Inequality decline and the politics of redistribution

Directed in collaboration between III and Oxfam

The current state of knowledge about inequality dynamics in developing regions remains inadequate. Given the growing concern about rising inequality globally, understanding more about the countries that have successfully reduced inequality and examining how and when governments have introduced redistributive policies may help to galvanize momentum for reform in other contexts. With this in mind, the III is developing a research programme to study cases of inequality decline and redistributive policy-making in developing countries with a focus on the political conditions that led to their adoption.

As a first step, Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity will support a project pilot phase to scope and develop this bigger programme of research. This pilot project will review the existing literature on inequality dynamics in developing countries since c.1970 and evaluate the available data sources on inequality and the feasibility of complementing existing data sources with country-level data. It seeks to identify those countries that have undergone a marked decline in inequality in recent decades. This scoping exercise will inform a project proposal for a larger project on inequality decline and the politics of redistribution.

 

Engagement on Strategies to Overcome Inequality in South Africa

Led by the University of Cape Town

While South Africa in many ways outperforms other African nations, rising inequality continues to act as a barrier to achieving economic transformation and equitable growth. A two-day event in Pretoria, South Africa was organised to disseminate research on inequality and to help formulate policies that will tackle these constraints head on.

The event brought together South African researchers and policy makers, a select group of international participants and some of South Africa’s leading NGOs/NPOs working in the policy space, to consolidate lessons from South African on strategies to overcome inequality and to connect with similar processes that have been running internationally. As part of the event a panel was assembled of key individuals from civil society to explore how they engage with inequalities.