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Cycle 32 (2016/2017)

Olga Breskaya

Olga Breskaya

Right to Freedom of Religion: A Sociological Comparison among Italy, Belarus, and Norway

The new growing subfield, which James T. Richardson named Sociology of Religious Freedom, becomes a constituent part of emerging sociology of human rights. We can find legal, philosophical, historical description of freedom of religion, while sociological focus has been underrepresented till recently.

Recent comparative empirical data collection on religious freedom (Grim, Finke, Martin, Van der Ven, Ziebertz) introduced sociological instrument for the measurement of legal, political, social-cultural (including religious) contexts of religious freedom maintenance and violations. Covering institutional dimension and value studies research on religious freedom, these studies induce to rethink the very concept of religious freedom with sociological arguments and to develop a deeper understanding how religious freedom structures political and religious possibilities in a particular way in different contexts.

This project is aimed to address the theoretical questions: how the sociology of religious freedom is constructed, what kind of disciplines, approaches, and practical issues contributed to and still continue to shape the subfield of sociology of religious freedom in a wider discourse of sociology of human rights? How the conceptualization of religious freedom could be developed for the further sociological empirical research? At the level of empirical analysis the research project will explore how different Christian confessions affect the religious freedom understanding among young people in three European countries. In this project Olga will compare attitudes towards religious freedom in Italy with strong Catholic tradition, Lutheran Norway, and Orthodox Belarus.



Silvia Marinella Fontana

The role of multinational enterprises in peace and sustainable development

Silvia is a Peace Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace; her PhD focuses on the economic determinants of conflict. Her research will further analyze the impact of FDIs on conflict dynamics. In particular, Silvia is interested in the role of multinationals in resource-rich countries. Silvia has an integrated profile of academic and professional accomplishments. She has experience in developing and managing complex projects in crisis and post-conflict zones: she coordinated an impact evaluation project for the World Bank and held increasingly responsible positions with Médecins Sans Frontières, including Human Resource and Administrative Coordinator with a staff of 460 in the DRCongo. As a Rotary Peace Fellow, she studied international development policy and peace and conflict resolution at Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University (USA). She is a committed citizen, involved in many initiatives for the public good. For instance, she is the Scientific Committee Coordinator of "Premio Valeria Solesin", award in memory of Valeria Solesin, Italian researcher killed in the Paris terrorist attack at the Bataclan, in 2015. Recently she has been selected as moderator for the “States General of the Erasmus Generation” in Rome, to support the Youth in better understanding the meaning of European citizenship today.



Cristina Yasmine Ghanem

Muslim women's agency in European integration policies from a human rights perspective: the cases of Berlin and Brussels

This research project focuses on the integration policies of two European capitals, the cities-states of Berlin and Brussels, and the way these policies address and frame the issue of Muslim women’s agency. While taking into account the copious literature on the relation between religious identities and agency, this research will challenge the existing discourse surrounding Muslim women in Europe, often portrayed as disempowered and as victims of patriarchy.

The aim of the research is to understand how different integration policies at the local level address the issue of Muslim women’s integration (whether they use a multicultural, intercultural, universal or assimilationist approach) and whether there is a multilevel approach to issues of gender and diversity between various units of government, specifically the European Union, the nation state and the local/regional level. In doing so, this research will analyze whether there is a clear presence of the intersectionality framework to the integration discourse in these two local contexts. Furthermore, through a policies’ analysis of the integration agenda in Berlin and Brussels,  this research will try to understand whether policy makers see Muslim youth and younger generations as a target of policies framed for Muslim women.


 Ling Han

Ling Han

Child Trafficking within China from a Perspective of Human Rights
This research is aimed to answer two questions: what are the root causes of child trafficking in China and how to better understand and combat child trafficking. Adopting the theory of Cameron and Newman into Chinese context, the causal factors of child trafficking can be divided into two broad categories: socio-political factors and personal-family factors. The empirical research will be conducted in Shanxi, Guangdong and Yunnan province of China, identifying relevant factors at affect victims and offenders in different patterns of child trafficking. Managing to connect some of the factors with human rights instruments, some possible solutions might be identified in the end of this project.


Ahmed Khan

Ahmed Abidur Razzaque Khan

The psychosocial impact of labour trafficking in Asia: a mixed-methods study of returned Bangladeshi survivors

Bangladesh is a source country for undocumented migrants seeking to work in wealthier neighboring countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. Individuals involved in this form of migration frequently endure ongoing extortion, substantial abuse and even murder at the hands of traffickers. The issue came to international prominence during the Andaman crisis in 2015 when the Bangladesh Government and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) worked to repatriate around 2,813 survivors. While research has examined the health and mental health effects of trafficking for sexual exploitation, the experiences and potential health effects of labor trafficking have not been examined. This mixed methods study will use semi-structured interviews and an online survey to gather qualitative and quantitative information regarding potential social, health and mental health (MH) impacts on labor trafficking survivors from Bangladesh. These data, along with a systematic review of the relevant literature, constitute a triangulation methodology which can provide a comprehensive picture of the health effects of labor trafficking. The outcomes of this study will help policy makers to develop concrete policies to support safer migration, and non-government organizations to increase community awareness of these risks, as well as more effective resettlement programs and support interventions for trafficking survivors themselves.


 Matteo Tracchi

Matteo Tracchi

Citizenship education in Croatia and Italy: what place and role for human rights? A multi-level actor-centred approach to human rights education

The research focuses on citizenship and human rights education, particularly looking at two case studies, namely Croatia and Italy. The main objective is to understand whether citizenship education in lower secondary school (specifically grade 8) includes a human rights component and is aligned with the concept of Human Rights Education (HRE) as enshrined in international and regional standards. The research is based on a quantitative part, coming from a secondary analysis of the results of an internationally renowned study developed by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and entitled ICCS 2016 (International Civic and Citizenship Education Study). More specifically, data relevant to the research were analysed for both Croatia and Italy (e.g. students’ endorsement of gender and racial equality, learning objectives, school contexts, etc.) and used to frame some of the questions that have been asked during a series of 25 one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders identified in both countries (Ministry of Education, Teacher Training Agencies, Local Authorities, Civil Society, Academia). Refusing the assumption of linearity and uniformity in the structure and development of citizenship education (CE), and rather conceptualising it as a tension political field of diverse and conflicting demands to which a multitude of actors have to respond simultaneously, the research adopts an actor-centred perspective using the methodological steps of the talk-and-action approach (Zimenkova & Hedtke, 2008) to:

  • identify the differentiated picture of CE actors as seen by the actors themselves, including their beliefs, conceptions and perceptions;
  • better understand the complex systems and environments of citizenship education focusing on multiple key actors at stake;
  • discover (inconsistent) demands and central tensions of citizenship education related to human rights and how these are perceived by the selected actor;
  • analyse the reactions of each respective actor to the demands previously assessed, pushing for a thorough differentiation between talk, decision and action;
  • investigate the relationship between citizenship education and human rights education in the two focus countries (Croatia and Italy).

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