This text brings together research into the determinants of marginalization risks for the unemployed and research into social policies for combating marginalization. It examines the major controversies about how far entrapment in unemployment is due to resource constraints, motivational problems or skill deficiency. It examines the forms that new policies have taken, the way they vary between EU countries and the effects they have had on the life experiences of the unemployed. Its central concern is how far the policies developed in the 1990s, in particular the spread of activation and welfare-to-work policies, address the major sources of vulnerability of the unemployed. The chapters draw on the results of a number of major comparative research programmes funded by the European Commission. These provide for the first time rigorous comparative data across a range of different countries. They bring together the insights of researchers from different disciplines: economists, jurists, social-psychologists and social policy analysts.