Recently, four Lower Austrian departments - the arts, social sciences, and cultural studies – have formed the research network Interdisciplinary Regional Studies, short FIRST, based at the Danube-University Krems.
Two research projects being supported by the Federal State of Lower Austria based on its FTI-Strategy are currently starting: one on the topic of migration, one on the issue of nutrition. The Ilse Arlt Institute on Social Inclusion Research of the St. Pölten UAS acts as external co-operation partner.
The history of Lower Austria as destination of migration
Within the framework of the formed network this research association analyses the situation of refugees in Lower Austrian municipalities and the role of ‘Lower Austria as destination of migration’ from the 16th century to today.
Regarding the current development of migration in consideration of the fact that more people with a background of displacement are going to spend a longer period of time in municipalities in the coming years, the question of their integration in the local community is becoming more substantial.
So far the approach of integration has been in use. Now, social inclusion is to become a part of this approach. “In contrast to concepts of integration, it is not about integrating individuals or groups into an existing bigger community, but the aim is a new form of cohabitation. This means enabling individuals the inclusion in communities as well as recognizing its barriers and removing them actively”, explains Johannes Pflegerl, head of the Ilse Arlt Institute on Social Inclusion Research of the St. Pölten UAS.
Food and inequality
The research association nutrition looks at social inequality from the point of view of nutrition and combines interdisciplinarity of the arts, social sciences and cultural studies with a long-term perspective.
“Social work is surprisingly little interested in nutrition. Social work and its special branch of science have given issues of nutrition and public health up to medicine and nutritional sciences as if these topics were not a social question and as if these were insignificant for inclusion and a livelihood”, says Peter Pantuček-Eisenbacher, head of Department Social Sciences at St. Pölten UAS.
Therefore, the aim of the sub-project of the Ilse Arlt Institute on Social Inclusion Research within the framework of this research association is to regain a view on the topic nutrition from a perspective of the science of social work. Based on “Food biographies” the correlation of experiences of inclusion and exclusion with aspects of food supply and setting of eating is researched.
The scope of the Arts, and social and cultural sciences
Both research associations, which work closely together, have a duration of two years and consist of interdisciplinary teams from the fields of history, art history, archaeology, sociology and social work. “The Ilse Arlt Institute benefits a lot from networking with other research institutions. The diversity of the research institutions reflects the whole scope of the Arts, and social and cultural sciences in Lower Austria”, says Johannes Pflegerl.
Research Network Interdisciplinary Regional Studies (FIRST)
In the network FIRST, the in St. Pölten based institutions of History of Rural Space (IGLR) as well as of Jewish Austrian History (INJOEST), the department of Realia of the Middle Ages and of Early Modern Age (IMAREAL) of the University of Salzburg located in Krems and the Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for Research of War Consequences (BIK), branch office Raabs, have formed a cooperation. The Research, Technology and Innovation Programme of the Federal State of Lower Austria (FTI-Programme) provides a framework. Both research associations on migration and nutrition are financially supported by the science department of the Federal State of Lower Austria. In these associations FIRST cooperates with the Ilse Arlt-Institute on Social Inclusion Research of the St. Pölten UAS and the Zentrum for Migrationsforschung located in the Lower Austrian capital.