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The development of social relations is core topic to get out of the crisis, says a British sociologist.

Margaret S. Archer, who gave the I ICS Lecture at the University of Navarra, encourages citizens to seek alternative proposals to the capitalist market.

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British sociologist Margaret S. Archer. PHOTO: Manuel Castells

"The development of social relations is core topic to get out of the crisis. It is a question of strengthening civil society so that not everything depends on politics or Economics and so that there are exchanges that benefit all parties and do not respond solely to economic equivalence". This was stated by the British sociologist Margaret S. Archer, professor at the University of Warwick, on the occasion of the first edition of the ICS Lectures, which she gave at Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra.

Professor Archer mentioned as an example the creation of time or skills banks, in which people offer their services - classes, repairs, advice, child and elderly care... - in exchange for those of others. "It's not just about cost-benefit maximization, but about how we can collaborate so that we all win," she stressed.

In this regard, he emphasized trust as core value for social relationships: "In the past, families stayed together and lived in the same neighborhood for several generations. That no longer exists: we interact with strangers all the time. However, we still maintain the forms of solidarity of yesteryear."

Professor Archer also alluded to the delegitimization of politicians in the social sphere, which she blamed fundamentally on the fact that "they do not debate the big issues and do not have a vision of the common good. She urged us not to think "that the only possible system is a government - understood as bureaucratic regulation - at the top and a mass of individuals at the bottom, because that leaves out the social relations in the middle, which are the place where we can have innovative ideas on practical issues".

Immigration offsets labor market

Finally, he made reference letter to immigration in the context of the crisis. "In Europe -he pointed out- radical positions are gaining weight that blame immigrants for taking work away from nationals and benefiting from Education and health services. But just the opposite is true: they compensate the labor market, taking over the jobs that young qualified people do not want to do".

"Without immigration we would not have the level of social care that we have: European citizens would not accept certain jobs with remuneration more leave than the minimum wage and very harsh conditions," he argued. With reference letter to this, he pointed out that immigration issues "are used to distract attention from other social realities that we live".

Margaret S. Archer received her BA and PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. She completed a further programs of study at the Université Paris-Sorbonne (France). She has worked at teaching and research at the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics and the University of Warwick. He currently leads the project 'From Modernity to Morphogenesis' at the College of Humanities of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland). She is a founding member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and the Academy of Social Sciences (UK). She was also the first woman to hold the presidency of the International Sociological Association.

The expert made these statements at the framework of the ICS Lecture on Humanities and Social Sciences, which inaugurates a series of conferences that the Institute for Culture and Society organizes annually. These lectures, given by internationally renowned researchers, aim to present some of the topics being researched in the eight ICS projects, goal .