The problem of children from poor families in local perspective
SESL researchers have been working on creation of a longitudinal database on poor families who live in rural areas of the Leningrad region and Saint-Petersburg since 2006. The first interviews were taken in the framework of the sociological project “Poverty in local perspective” supported by “Khamovniki” fund. The researchers continued their work with poor and disadvantaged families and their children by observing their life trajectories in dynamics.
An important research question is definition of which families are poor and which are not. In order to find out how this problem is officially solved, the representatives of local community, social protection institutions (orphanage, social rehabilitation center, aid service for pensioners, social protection department), police, settlements’ administration, schools were surveyed. Such approach let us select the most various and contrast cases for research.
Qualitative data was collected by the end of the project. These data included mostly interviews and observation diaries. The database contains information about 49 cases. We followed 17 of them for more than a year. The obtained empirical data make it possible to describe the variety of poverty cases and consider the problem by examples of several families in dynamics. The data were coded with NVivo in 2010.
An independent branch of the project is research on the social protection institutions’ work with the poor. Not all needy are under the authority of social protection. There is a hypothesis that the chances to receive support increase mostly for those local community members who are regarded as “the noble poor”. The researchers tried to understand how the social protection and other aid systems for the poor work.
Another field of work implies analysis of the bringing-up of children in poor families and the social exclusion of orphan children. Several important conclusions about the influence of educational level on children’s daily life and about the social exclusion of orphan children at city schools in comparison with the rural community were drawn.
Children in socially dangerous situations: life trajectories in the social and educational policy context
Project coordinators: Natalia Danilova, Anastasia Milaya
The aim of this project was to study the institutional structure of institutions which are to solve the problems of one of the most vulnerable children groups – children in “socially dangerous situations”. Empirical data were collected in Priozersk district of Leningrad region in 2007 and 2008: more than 30 interviews with the institutions’ employees and inmates, parents, statistics and reports on these institutions’ work, statutes and legislative acts which regulate them. Children’s social trajectories were described, the institutional structure of institutions occupied with problems of children from “disadvantaged” families was portrayed for the first time.
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