Research focus areas at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Research at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy is centered around the following three focus areas:

Traditions of Philosophical and Political Thought

The research groups belonging to this focus area analyze social, political, ethical, philosophical, and cultural problems with the objective of producing new solutions to them. The most important research topics concern individuality, communality or sociability, moral and political agency, and the nature, conditions, variety, and significance of human experience. These themes are also scrutinized within intellectual traditions in philosophy and politics, and central conceptual and theoretical changes are traced in these traditions especially with respect to political institutions and the use and organization of power as well as the argumentative and rhetorical forms of persuasion and influence.

Sustainable Societies

An overall framework for the focus area is sustainable development. The objects of research include societal and eco-social transformations and crises that challenge or hinder sustainability, and the consequences and reactions they trigger in different societal levels and arenas. The focus area conducts multidisciplinary theoretical, empirical and intervention-oriented research on social, cultural, and technological transformations as well as on changes related to work and economy, and pays special attention to the dynamics of inequalities and participation. The research themes include environmental risks, consumption and life-styles, citizenship, the forms and conditions of participation, cultural diversity, differences and inequalities, sustainable work, new forms of economy, digitalization, organization of civil society and sustainable expertise.

Policies and Politics of Welfare and Care

This research area focuses on transformations of welfare policies and politics and service systems at local, national and international levels. Our research analyses consequences of these transformations for people’s everyday life, welfare, social protection, and social rights as well as for gender and intergenerational relations. The transformations are studied also from the perspectives of organisational structures, management, and professional work practices. In addition, new forms of participation are studied from the perspectives of political participation and equal opportunities. Main areas of research focus on care policy and population ageing, welfare professions and professional practices, transformation of the service systems, digitalisation, welfare of individuals and communities, violence in everyday life and in different institutional contexts, citizenship rights, political participation and possibilities to influence decision-making.