A research on relational goods and development

Licia Paglione concludes her post-doctoral program


Amongst the young researchers at the IUS, Licia Paglione from Chieti, who is a research doctor in economic sociology, is concluding, in these next few weeks, the School’s established biennial post-doctorate.


They are, therefore, crucial weeks needed to draw the threads on a topic of research focusing on a specific aspect of the Economy of Communion, the “last ring on the chain”, one could say; aiding the poor is, in reality, the first aspect in the heart of one who has decided to invest in this challenging project.  Let’s look at a recent interview given (published in its entirety on the website edc-online).


What brought about your interest on this aspect of the EoC?

First of all because I have always seen poverty as the first “motive” for which the EoC was born, and therefore its very centrality. Then, discovering the complexity enclosed in the concept of poverty and development which should not to be seen as tied only to the dimension of income, but , rather, to a number of non material dimensions, yet all necessary for a “human blossoming. ” Among these, in the cultural perspective of the EoC, I have noticed a particular one which, in the last few years, is being rediscovered in the scientific world: the relational dimension, that is, the fact that relationships, and their quality, count very much for a life one may be call happy.


For this reason, I decided to ‘re-shape’ the analysis on poverty, concentrating above all on this dimension and on the results that help given by the EoC has had: its “relational effects”, meaning the ability to quantitatively ameliorate the relationships of those on the receiving end of the help given. 


How are you bringing forward this scientific project?


The last step, which came about during my period at the IUS, allowed me to deepen a particularly interesting methodology of analysis for the study of the relational dimension, which I utilized to build a system of relational data gathering which I was able to subsequently use in the ‘field.’ Also thanks to the support received by the EoC, I was able, last year, to spend a month in Brazil, at Sao Paolo and Curitiba, to test this system – accompanied by the Filadelfia Centre, a small study centre of research and documentation on the EoC administered by ANPECOM (Associacão Nacional por uma Economia de Comunhão) www.anpecom.com.br – to a group of people who receive help from the EoC as they are living in conditions of poverty.


What have you discovered? Can one state that the help given by the EoC also brings about a bettering of the relationships these people have?


In reality, in order to discover this, the research needs to continue… I should be  monitoring these results for a few years, realizing that one could technically call it a “dynamic analysis of social networks,” in order to see whether the relationships these people are living are changing both qualitatively and quantitatively. That which I was able to do though, has been to perfect a system of analysis which can be truly useful to observe systematically this type of effect of the help received from the EoC and thus bring to light and valuing an aspect which would otherwise remain invisible and which instead, in the EoC is retained of extreme importance, very much for resolving material poverty: the building of “relational goods,” for those receiving help as well.


This study would also allow me to further perfect the system of data gathering and to reach more interesting results, in the observation of the change in the social networks of those receiving help from the EoC. Furthermore, I would like to be able to extend this evaluative analysis to a wider territory than Brazil.



Text: Antonella Ferrucci

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