Mutual benefit : Rethinking social inclusion

Abstract: geography, where segregation and social exclusion of neighbourhoods and marginalised groups are mounting problems. Concurrently, globalisation and structural changes have altered the conditions for the national state and the public sector as well as for other actors. Previous efforts to decrease social inequalities have failed to achieve sufficient results. Today, promoting social inclusion and integration is a top priority on the political agenda and calls for innovative interventions. These changes in society have resulted in new constellations of collaboration, crosscutting sectors and borders in which various actors work towards collective goals. Many of the issues and subsequent responsibility that once belonged to the public sector are now handled through interplay between private and public actors in so-called governance arrangements. The thesis discusses if governance arrangements where new actors engage to promote social inclusion and integration can be more effective than traditional efforts. To reach satisfactory results, the relations between involved actors need to be solid and trustworthy, and the perspective of benefit must be long-term. In this respect, social capital is a central theory as it focuses on social relations between people, and emphasises networks, trust and reciprocal norms as important foundations for such relations. The aim of the thesis is to rethink strategies to promote social inclusion and integration by providing a theoretical discussion about value-creation. An assumption analyzed is that in situations where power and other resources are unevenly distributed, all parties involved can benefit by trustful cooperation. The ambition is to critically examine the concepts of governance and social capital, and to discuss their possibilities and shortcomings related to the value-creating processes. The usefulness and capacity of the theoretical framework is tested by analysing two unconventional approaches to promote social inclusion and societal integration, carried out by a public housing company in Malmö.