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The SOSTRIS project (Social Strategies in Risk Society) formed part of the European Commission’s Fourth Framework TSER (Targeted Socio-Economic Research) programme concerning social exclusion and social integration in Europe. The seven country SOSTRIS began in March 1996 and ran for three years. Using biographical-interpretive methods, the first stage of the project focussed on six social groups: unemployed graduates, early retired people, unqualified youth, single parents, ex-traditional workers and ethnic minorities (WP 2-7). The second stage of the research was based on ‘flagship agencies’ that appeared to be particularly successful or innovative in combating social exclusion with the particular groups under study (WP 8). The first report (WP1) reviewed the concept of social exclusion in social science and policy traditions of the seven countries.

The publication of our research reports as Working Papers allowed more of the case study material to be assembled than would be possible in the Final Report or in published articles. Each Working Paper was arranged in three sections: the introduction was the composite report, which presented broad sociological conclusions from a reading of the individual national reports. The second, main part consisted of the national reports from the seven countries involved in the study. These focused on the detailed analysis of one interview and profiles of the other five interviews carried out per country. The last section contained articles from our discussions on how to compare cases, which became a key methodological issue for the study.

Some of the on-line papers are in a pre-language edit version, and a few sections are missing. The Working Paper on the Early Retired' is missing, as is the first one, 'Social Exclusion in Comparative Perspective', a state of the art report on the concept of social exclusion in each country. Six of the nine original Working Papers are here presented on-line. A great deal of language editing was carried out - by Prue Chamberlayne, Michael Cunningham, Jude Bloomfield, Zoë Fearnley, Judy Gahagan and Tom Wengraf.

The Final Report (WP 9) is available on line from the Cordis site - http://cordis.europa.eu/. The report itself is on: http://cordis.europa.eu/search/documents/documentlibrary

Convenors of the SOSTRIS project:
Prue Chamberlayne: p.m.chamberlayne@open.ac.uk and Michael Rustin: m.j.rustin@uel.ac.uk
June 2007