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Research theme 3: A just and caring society

We distinguish three conditions for a just and caring society: redistribution, recognition and representation. Redistribution concerns the fair distribution of, and equal access to, goods and services. Recognition concerns being seen and treated as full citizens with equal rights, deserving of dignity, respect and social inclusion. Representation involves having a voice and being listened to.


We are examining these conditions in different ways. For example by historical and philosophical study of how understandings of care and social justice have changed over time. We analyse what care ethics can mean for our understanding of sustainability and democracy. 


Next to that our research addresses the role of institutions and public organisations. How do our institutions and organisations contribute to and/or undermine social justice? We pursue both social scientific and empirical ethics research on how ideals of (humane) public services work out in practice.


Finally we focus on the role of public professionals. We empirically study the ideals and practices of professionals working in public services including in healthcare, long-term care, welfare, social work, public administration and (humanist) spiritual chaplaincy. We study how professionals cope with conflicting values and discourses, moral dilemmas and moral injury.


You can find more information about A just and caring society as a research theme in our research programme.

Research projects

Examples of research projects within this theme:


  • Promises of proximity
  • The Dialogics of Justice: Assessing Recognition as a Process of Resonance
  • How do young people with a mild intellectual disability experience life in their neighbourhood? -Research into the social inclusion of people with disabilities in a sheltered living environment.
  • Solidarity in a diverse society
  • Democratic legitimacy and sustainability of citizens' initiatives
  • Integration of refugees: social workers and residents in action
  • Attention to democracy and tolerance in secondary education in all EU countries
  • School-to-work transitions of vulnerable young people in a meritocratic society
  • Inventory of spiritual care at home


More research projects can be found at the chair group pages.