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between the Social and the Spatial

March 22, 2010


Last week I attended an international seminar that was organized around the book publication “Between the Social and the Spatial – exploring multiple dimensions of poverty and social exclusion”, edited by Katrien De Boyser, Carolien Dewilde, Danielle Dierckx and Jürgen Friedrichs and publised by Ashgate. The book is filled with contributions from scholars with very diverse background; a representation of the wide network of Professor Jan Vranken at the University of Antwerp. Jan Vranken officially retired in the autumn of 2009 and this book honors his contributions to the social sciences. And as can be witnessed by the large range of topics discussed in the various chapters, his academic contributions ranged from the conceptualization of poverty and social exclusion to the formulation of social policy and from urban planning to the role of civil society in the provision of social protection. The international seminar last week in Antwerp served as a get-together for the various contributors and a platform to discuss each other’s contributions. We had lively discussions about the current social policy paradigm in the EU, the measurement of (child) poverty (the contribution of Chris de Neubourg, Franziska Gassmann and myself), the new challenges faced by urban planning and governance in the light of the financial crisis and the role of faith-based organizations in the provision of social welfare. Many of these topics were new to me but, nevertheless, very interesting to hear about. Concluding the seminar with a the establishment of a strong link “between the social and teh spatial” proved difficult but leaves plenty of room for more discussion and original thoughts and ideas.

More information about the book can be found on the website of Ashgate publishing.

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