As part of its research program "Enacting "Catholic Social Tradition" the Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research together with the University of Notre Dame and Trinity College Dublin organzied a workshop on "Catholic Social Teaching and the Capabilities Approach". The workshop took place on 15 and 16 December 2017 at Trinity College Dublin. Among the speakers were Catriona Russell (Trinity College), Severine Deneulin (Bath) and Tina Beattie (Roehampton). This workshop is part of a book project on the topic of Integral Human Development, which will be published in the book series of the Kellogg Institute with University of Notre Dame Press.
A new paper (in German) by Gottfried Schweiger and Gunter Graf on the currency of justice for children was just published in the Archiv für Rechts- and Sozialphilosophie. It should be open access but it is not yet. Below you can read the abstract and also find a link to the published version of the paper.
Fähigkeiten und Funktionsweisen als ,,Währung der Gerechtigkeit" für Kinder [Capabilities and Functionings as the ,,Currency of Justice" for Children ]
In this paper, we aim to clarify two central assumptions, which allow to specify what justice for children implies in the Capability Approach. First, we argue that an adequate currency of justice for children consists in a bundle of functionings, which develops into a bundle of capabilities in the course of childhood; the currency of justice for children is dynamic, not static. Second, we discuss how the respective functionings and capabilities should be selected. In particular, we suggest four criteria. They imply that there is not only a change through time from a bundle of functionings to a bundle of capabilities as the currency of justice for children, but that the composition of the bundle itself gets modified.
Link to article on the publisher's website.
Link to the PDF of the published version.
In mid October, CEPR Senior Scientist Helmut P. Gaisbauer spent his first field research week in Dumbrăveni/Romania. There he aims to shed light on the obstacles and possibilities as well as effectiveness of a social project that supports children of poverty-stricken families in their regular access to education. This project called A.C.E.S. offers after-school care to a small number of about 20 children mostly with a Roma background living in a slum-like neighborhood at the outskirts of Dumbrăveni. The most important feature of A.C.E.S. is the long-term commitment of funds for at least 8 years to really make a difference.
The VALUE-DUMBRAVENI research project supports this initiative by providing insights into the obstacles and chances of reducing poverty amongst the target population, i.e. mainly in strengthening children through support and enhancing their educational efforts.
In recent years, CEPR contributed extensively to the discourse on child poverty and severe, absolute forms of poverty in affluent societies which are intersecting in this case. This way, CEPR generated insights in particular forms of poverty that can be framed with the concept of fundamental poverty. Fundamental poverty is a form of poverty that coins the whole of a human existence. Child poverty shapes the very identity of and the manner how the children interact with the world in a long-lasting way. Absolute poverty is severe poverty that denies basic human needs. These forms of poverty are “fundamental” because they shape the basic code of a life in a long-lasting manner, influencing daily routines, basic opportunities and fundamental decisions.
In his recent fieldwork, Helmut did a series of interviews with supported children, with the project’s staff and with representatives of the local schools in order to understand what factors influence school attendance, how the educational systems’ efforts to support children with special needs and marginalized children work, to learn about the children’s backgrounds and performance and how the children experience A.C.E.S. The next field trip is planned for end of March 2018.
CEPR Senior Scientist Helmut P. Gaisbauer has been appointed president of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Social Ethics ifz Salzburg by September 1 2017. He follows Prof Clemens Sedmak who has led the ifz from 2009 to 2017 and is now full professor of Social Ethics at the University of Notre Dame/Indiana.
As an international research centre for social ethics, the ifz researches into questions of how to improve people’s lives. It is a place for interdisciplinary approaches on socially relevant issues based on the values of human dignity, common good, solidarity and sustainability. The ifz is a platform for ideas and solutions that serve our society, the church and the economy; it wants to achieve that goal through its academic work and by providing a meeting place, where academics and non-academics have the opportunity to meet (www.ifz-salzburg.at).
The ifz is closely cooperating with the CEPR – e.g. in a consultancy assignment by the state Salzburg concerning the realization of European Social Funds projects in the period 2017-2021, by hosting a common research seminar series or common public events aiming at public debate and knowledge transfer.
The Centre for Ethics and Poverty Reserach (CEPR) is happy to welcome Constanze Binder as a Visiting Fellow in 2018. She will stay at the CEPR from April to June 2018 and work on a project on the relation of freedom, inequality and democracy.
Dr. Constanze Binder is Assistant Professor in Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, a Co-Director at the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics and Director of the research master programme in Philosophy and Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Constanze Binder studied Economics and Environmental System Science at Graz University and obtained a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Groningen on the value of freedom for a person’s identity and agency. Constanze has previously taught in the Philosophy Departments of Groningen and Leiden University, worked at the Economics Department of the University of Osnabrück, and contributed to projects on climate change for the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Environment and the Austrian Human Dimensions Program. Constanze’s research focuses on the value of freedom in human development. She worked on the conceptualization and measurement of freedom and responsibility in welfare economics and political philosophy.
Freedom, Inequality and Democracy
The objective of this research project is to explore the relationship between (material) inequality and freedom. More specifically, the goal is to question the suggested conflict between freedom and equality and investigate under which conditions (material) inequality can undermine freedom in general and democratic freedom in particular. For this purpose, the project is divided into three parts.
In the first part, the literature on (in-) equality is explored and the literature on the relationship between inequality and other concepts, such as poverty, human well-being, social cohesion and human development are surveyed. In the second part, the question is raised whether/under which conditions inequality can undermine human freedom. In this part the specific focus will be on the capability approach and under which conditions material inequality in society can undermine human well-being understood as the freedom/capabilities to pursue the life paths a person has reason to value. In part three of the project, the focus will be on specific variant of such freedoms that are at risk to be undermined by increasing (material) inequality, namely democratic freedoms. Part four of the project explores different policy proposals, such as an unconditional basic income or inheritance taxation to constrain material inequality and its negative impact on human well-being and democratic freedom.
The Centre for Ethics and Poverty Reserach (CEPR) is happy to welcome Małgorzata Dereniowska as our first Visiting Fellow in 2018. She will stay at the CEPR from January to April 2018 and work on a project on the relation of environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation.
Małgorzata holds a PhD in Philosophy, MA in Social Communication, and BSc in Ecology from Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznań, Poland). She is co-editor of special issues for Ethics in Progress and International Journal of Sustainable Development, and of the World Economics Association Pedagogy Blog “Perspectives on Economics & Society.” She is co-author of Positional Analysis for Sustainable Development: Reconsidering Economics, Policy and Accounting with Judy Brown and Peter Söderbaum (Routledge 2017). She serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education and Environment, Space, Place. She has written on a variety of topics in ethics, environmental thought, normative aspects of economics, and sustainable development.
Environmental sustainability for poverty alleviation: Ethical and philosophical aspects
The idea of sustainable development, or sustainability, was developed to address the mutual causality between socio-economic inequalities and environmental degradation. In essence, sustainability is a concept of intergenerational justice aimed at poverty alleviation and at minimizing environmental burdens in a way that allows meeting the essential needs of people now and in the future. It emphasizes the need to integrate social, environmental, and economic dimensions of development and well-being, implying collective responsibility.
Attention to the environmental aspect of poverty broadens the scope of normative approaches towards poverty and social exclusion. It also strengthens the case for ethically-founded approaches to alleviation strategies. But sustainability has a wide variety of meanings and interpretations, and necessitates trade-offs in balancing the well-being of contemporaries and future people. As a result, different views of sustainability render different metrics and indicators for public policy, and leave open the question about what type of relationship between well-being and poverty alleviation is implied by the concept of sustainability.
In this project I seek to answer this question, and examine the importance of an environmental dimension of poverty broadly construed. To this end, I analyze major economic and philosophical approaches to sustainability, arranged within the needs-satisfaction, freedom-oriented, and preference-based approaches. In the course of investigation, I will address the following questions: Is focusing on human needs enough for defining sustainability? Can sustainability be a functioning among others, or should we rather think of it as a meta-capability? Is introducing the idea of collective capability and collective moral responsibility enough to provide a satisfying framework for concrete decision making in terms of sustainability? My main objective is to lay out the elements of multidisciplinary approach to poverty alleviation that addresses sustainability justice, and individual and collective aspects of responsibility in a multicultural world under environmental uncertainties.
Rethinking Social Capital - Global Contributions from Theory and Practice
edited by Elisabeth Kapferer, Isabell Gstach, Andreas Koch, Clemens Sedmak
Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2017
Concepts of social capital play a well-established role in a number of academic disciplines and continue to grow in popularity in the discourses of the sciences, as well as those of civil society and social practice. As an element that is fundamental and constitutive of various forms of societal coexistence and wellbeing, social capital apparently generates positive effects. However, it also contributes to inequalities and unequal distribution of power, and is, consequently, a rather controversial subject.
This collection of essays represents reflections and case studies from all over the world. They step out of well-known paths of discourse and discuss the phenomenon of social capital in manifold ways and from new perspectives. In addition to rethinking social capital theoretically and methodologically, the authors focus especially on issues and challenges of its practical application. The contributions come from researchers and practitioners of different backgrounds including sciences such as sociology, philosophy, social geography, economics, health studies, history, interpersonal communication studies and cultural studies, as well as social practice in development aid. The volume will appeal to a broad audience from diverse disciplines, both academic and practical.
Link to the book: http://www.cambridgescholars.com/rethinking-social-capital
Gottfried Schweiger (Salzburg) and Johannes Drerup (Koblenz-Landau) will edit a Special Issue on "Global Justice for Children" in the Journal of Global Ethics. See the call for papers below.
Submission of Abstracts (500 words): 1 June 2018
Submission of Full Papers: 1 December 2018
Direct enquiries and submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The editors look for contributions that will deepen and broaden the understanding of the current situation of children globally, of the injustices they face and of how they cope with them. Contributions could also further advance ongoing debates on the moral and justice-based entitlements of children and their rights (and also duties) on a global scale. The editors also welcome papers that analyze and scrutinize the responsibilities of actors and agents of global justice for children, and that help to devise policies to improve children’s lives.
The editors hope to attract contributions from different theoretical approaches and backgrounds, especially including those outside of the mainstream of theories of global justice. Of particular interest are contributions that look into the intersection of disadvantages and injustices in children‘s lives based on their gender and sex, race, ethnicity, indigeneity or health status. Contributions from scholars based in the Global South are particularly encouraged.
Find out more about the Journal of Global Ethics:
The Capacity to be Displaced: Resilience, Mission, and Inner Strength
by Clemens Sedmak
The experience of displacement is shared by people who work internationally. The capacity to be displaced is a necessary strength and skill for people working across cultures, particularly for missionaries. In order to deal with the stressful nature of displacement people need to be resilient, resilience makes people flourish in adverse circumstances. This volume presents a specific type of resilience, namely “resilience nourished by inner sources.” Cultivating inner resilience draws on all the facets of a person’s interior life: thoughts and memories, hopes and desires, beliefs and convictions, concerns and emotions. The notion of inner strength and resilience from within is developed using many examples from missionaries and development workers as well as case studies from all over the world.
Link to the book on the publisher's website.
Editors: Gottfried Schweiger, Helmut P Gaisbauer & Clemens Sedmak
Special Issue in Palgrave Communications
Poverty and religion are interrelated in different ways. On the one hand, for various religious traditions poverty is both an aspect of a particular faithful life (e.g. monastic communities) and giving to the poor is seen as a religious duty. Such traditions have evolved over time and expanded the role of faith-based organisations nowadays play in welfare provision and international development. Faith-based organizations play an important role in poverty alleviation both in rich and poor countries. These actions and practices, as well as their religious and theological underpinnings, deserve scrutiny. On the other hand, religion plays an important role in the life of people living in poverty: how they experience and shape their living, and how they find their place in society and the communities in which they. The role of religion in justifying certain inequalities and processes of exclusion (e.g. in India) and thus contributing to the sustainability of poverty is another important theme worth reflection.
We invite papers, from a range of disciplinary perspectives, that consider the following overarching question: how can religion be used as a vehicle to overcome structures of poverty, and how does it sometimes hinder such processes?
Contributions from sociology, development studies, religious studies, economics, theology, and other social sciences and humanities are welcomed; as are insights from different geographical settings, forms of poverty, and religious traditions.
This is a rolling article collection and as such submissions/proposals will be welcome throughout 2017. However, full submissions received by September 30 will be considered for publication as part of the collection’s formal launch.
Authors who are interested in submitting a paper should, in the first instance, to send a short abstract-length proposal to the Managing Editor (Palcomms@palgrave.com) outlining the scope of their paper and its novelty; any general enquiries can also be directed to this address.
For more infromation on the submission process please see the submission guidelines of Palgrave Communications. Find the detailed call for papers for this thematic collection below, and on the homepage of Palgrave communications.
This special issue is run in collaboration with the 2017 Salzburg Conference on Interdisciplinary Poverty Research.