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22 Sep, 2023

First rEUsilience working paper “Family profiles: Risks, resources, and inequalities”

rEUsilience, a Horizon Europe research initiative spanning from 2022 to 2025, is a collaborative effort involving renowned universities such as Oxford, Stockholm, Barcelona, Warsaw, KULeuven, and Zagreb, with COFACE as an integral partner. 

The first working paper from rEUsilience maps how resilience is being used in the EU policy discourse, noting how there is a lack of a clear conceptualisation of how it applies to families. For example, the EU social and economic resilience dashboard monitors Member States’ vulnerabilities and capacities but overlooks the role of families. Consequently, there is limited understanding of the challenges faced by families in the new world of work, their coping mechanisms, and the contribution of social policies to family resilience. 

To address this, the text proposes the concept of family resilience, which begins by defining resilience as “well-being despite adversity”. Family relations are considered a significant site for resilience, representing both a resource and an obligation. It emphasises how resilience is an agentic process in which families utilise resources to overcome risks. However, the burden is not on families ‘to be resilient’ since the risks they face and the resources available are constrained by structural factors. 

Identifying family resilience requires European social surveys that provide the tools to effectively monitor the realities of families: their profiles (in and beyond the household) and how risks, resources, and inequalities combine in how families navigate socio-economic shocks. This working paper critically analyses whether existing European social surveys (EUSILC, EQLS, HFCS, HBS, and ESS) are sufficient in capturing these realities and proposes recommendations for development. 

Read the full working paper here. 

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