Relational Goods and Development: an Ongoing Research

Licia Paglione, a researcher at the Sophia University Institute, thanks to also an EoC scholarship, is doing a research on the relational effects of helping the poor. We made an interview with her.

Licia Paglione 03The commitment towards the in-depth examination of the phenomenon of the Economy of Communion is very strong among the researchers of the Sophia University Institute, the scientific partner of the EoC. One of them, Licia Paglione, has been studying it by focusing her attention on the 'last link of the chain', which is in fact the first one in the hearts of those who believe in the EoC: the helping of the poor. We asked her to tell us about her research in more detail..

How did you develop interest in this aspect of the EoC?

First of all it comes from the fact that, knowing the EoC and those who make it possible, I always saw poverty as a primary "reason" for which this phenomenon was born, and is centred around.

And then from the realisation that the complexity inside the concepts of poverty and development - which are not to be seen only from the dimension of income, much rather as a combination of dimensions, also non-material - are both needed for "human flourishing". Among these, through the cultural perspective of the EoC I noticed that there is one that stands out greatly, and it is exactly what has been followed with great interest in the scholarly world in recent years: the relational dimension, the fact that relationships and their quality are important for a life that could be called happy. Because of this I thought that I would "reshape" the analysis of poverty, focusing mainly on this dimension and its outcomes that have developed ways of assistance in the EoC: their "relational effects" that is, their capacity to improve the quantity and quality of the relationships of those aided by the EoC. .

How are you proceeding with this research project?

The last step taken was possible thanks to a post-doctoral research phase at the Centro Filadelfia ridSophia University Institute. I managed to work out a methodology of analysis which is especially interesting for the study of the relational dimension I used for constructing an instrument to collect relational data that had to be tested "in the field". The support received from the EoC made it possible for me to spend about a month in Brazil, in Sao Paolo and Curitiba during November and December last year. I was accompanied by Centro Filadelfia, a small centre for study, research and documentation run by ANPECOM, and with their assistance I found and could test this instrument on some people who are interesting for my research, that is, people who receive aid from the EoC because they live in poverty.

What were your findings? Can it be affirmed that the aid provided by the EoC is also contributing towards the improvement of the relationships of the recipients?

Licia Paglione Brasil 2014 01 ridActually, to prove this the research should be continued... these findings should reoccur in time for a few years in order to have a "dynamical analysis of social networks" as it is called technically, and in order to see how the relationships of these people change in quantity and quality. What I could do, however, is develop an analytical instrument that could be very useful in doing a systematic monitoring of this side of the effects produced by the EoC aid and so highlight and evaluate this aspect that otherwise would remain invisible but is given extreme importance inside the EoC, just as much as the resolution for material poverty: the construction of "relational goods", also for those who receive aid.

How are you going to continue your research now? What are the perspectives for it?

I would definitely like to continue my research to get to a point where I Licia Paglione Brasil 2014 02 ridcan offer a ready evaluation instrument for a more expansive analysis of the relational effects of the aid provided by the EoC. In order to do this another research is needed to carry out a longitudinal study, that is, a study that would be repeated in time (for at least three years) with the same people in its focus. This study would allow carrying out an ultimate improvement of data collection and attaining more interesting results in terms of observing the changes of social networks of the recipients of EoC aids. Furthermore, I would like to be able to extend this evaluation analysis to a wider area than Brazil, to do a global monitoring of "relational effects" of the forms of aid linked to the EoC, that is, their capacity to not just reduce material poverty but promote the creation of "relational goods", too.

Best of luck to Licia!

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