THE SOUTH OF EUROPE AS A STRATEGIC RESEARCH SITE
The above research topics, together with many others, make southern European region an important context for comparative studies due to similarities in the social problems experienced by its countries. The region also shares common problems and social trends with neighbouring countries, mainly in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East and other areas of Europe. However, sociological research has not dedicated sufficient attention to the specific trends affecting this region from a comparative perspective.
An important issue is still the meaning of the south in the European domain. Trying to define present-day southern Europe as a region is an exercise subject to discussion where geographical and sociological maps do not always coincide. It is necessary to take into account current convergence and divergence processes across the region and inside specific countries. Because regional boundaries are fluid, socio- political trends in neighbouring areas are clearly interconnected to southern Europe and should be considered. Currently the meaning of Southern European Societies may be undergoing another regional transformation that is being promoted from social dynamics both inside and in other countries as a result of the recent global crisis.