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Research themes suggested by the members of the Doctorate's Academic Board
1. Citizenship and human rights
Citizenship has a twofold and persistent relation with human rights: within political communities, in both sociological and legal terms, the notion of citizenship is the core of the ascription, implementation and warrantee of fundamental rights; the notion of citizenship can be seen as a source of exclusion and cannot but represent a challenge to the inherent universality of human rights, which therefore work either to stretch the criteria for ascribing the status of citizenship or to weaken the impact of this status on the ascription of rights.
2. Gender Equity
As scientific literature shows, asymmetries between genders are embedded in everyday life. They appear in different shapes: gender pay gaps, lower employment rates for women, non-sharing of care loads, scarce presence of women in political roles and in institutional representativeness, glass ceilings, gender-related crimes. These issues severely limit women’s freedom and the exercise of their rights. The research aims to identify trajectories to counter the stereotypes and discrimination that underlie these asymmetries for the empowerment and promotion of equity between genders and to enable psychological growth.
3. Globalization, Migration and Humanitarian Assistance
Globalization and international migration are two concepts that will continue to divide international opinions and to polarize policy makers, politicians, and advocates depending on which side of the fence one is sitting on. However, while labour migration continues to dominate the discussion around people movements in the context of globalization, data by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on the impact of globalization on the environment suggest that globalization impacts the whole migration spectrum: it increases greenhouse gas emissions; impoverishes biodiversity; creates uneven political efforts, and creates capitalistic and democratic political systems that foster trade and cross-border mobility. As Globalization continues to gain momentum, the burden of forced migration (i.e. internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum seekers), voluntary migration (i.e. student and labour migration, and family stream migration) and irregular migration (i.e. visa over-stayers) will always represent a challenge for policy makers. The proposed research addresses health, security and social effects associated with migration from a global perspective.
4. Governance and emergencies
Since the early 1970s, the international community has witnessed a dramatic growth in humanitarian emergency action. According to some scholars, emergency has become a sort of counterpart to the prospect of global order. Governance – as requiring a reasonable framework of rules, predictability and accountability to which relevant actors are committed – is confronted with a pervasive setting of emergency-based practices, often short-sighted, highly politicized and self-referential, but that draw considerable funding and media attention. This research stream promotes empirical research in a variety of contexts (humanitarian action and relief, development cooperation, “structural adjustment” programmes…) whereby the clash or the harmonization between the potentially competing instances of emergency and human rights emerge, with the aim of learning lessons useful to improve governance patterns.
5. Human rights in the EU external relations
The catalogue of principles and values of the common foreign and security policy regime is connected with the innovative and human-centred part of the international political system: human security. Literature regarding the EU in international politics includes categories such as "normative power", "soft power", "civilian power", "smart power”, the use of which raises expectations of a highly innovative role also from an ethical point of view.
6. Inclusion and psychological growth
Inclusion makes it possible to go beyond the models associated with the placement and integration of particular individuals in a context or group but focuses on the conditions; that should enable social participation and quality of life for all. The lines of research in psychology concern the study of attitudes, emotions, behaviours oriented to inclusion and the dynamics that promote inclusion, equity, human rights; fighting social, linguistic, bureaucratic and administrative barriers; analysis of disparities in school, work and social contexts and design and evaluation of interventions to reduce them; counselling processes for inclusion and psychological growth of all.
A particular research line will also address the inclusive and sustainable Life design. Building inclusive and sustainable futures for all play a significant role in promoting better societies. From an psychological and developmental perspective, the research lines, concern how to construct ways to think of the future as life design, decent work, and growth; how contextual barriers, often not very evident, stifle thought, reflection, and future design; attention to approaches and dimensions that shed light on the traps between persons and their rights, to release new energies and promote the construction of inclusive and sustainable projects for the future. Another specific research line will address palliative care and quality of life. Psychological research investigates how to guarantee access to palliative care in a universal and non-discriminatory manner to promuote dignity, human rights and quality of life.
7. International law, international order, and human rights
Several issues have been arising in human rights studies that basically deal with the impact of the structure of international law (sources, subjects, processes and aims) on human rights recognition and protection; and the ways human rights affect the development of international law, e.g. in the hierarchy of sources. Many issues are worth being addressed, for example: What does legal order mean in the international sphere and in the light of human rights requirements? How can the notions of democracy and rule of law be properly adjusted in such international order? How global justice can be framed as a goal of international order? How accountability and legitimation do evolve in this framework? In what sense, if any, is it possible to devise a process of “constitutionalisation” of international law? Which relations are there between “constitutionalisation” and “fragmentation” of international law?
8. Microfinance, social inclusion and climate change adaptation
Microfinance is an economic activity that could generate a positive impact on social inclusion and thus serve as an important tool for policy makers. In the last decades, climate change has moved beyond being an environmental challenge to one that threatens poverty reduction and development around the world. Within the context of climate change, adaptation is a strategy people implement in response to, or in anticipation of changing climate conditions in order to reduce adverse impacts or take advantage of any opportunities that may arise (Tompkins and Adger 2003). However, the type and scale of adaptation depends on the type of change occurring in a given territory, as well as the vulnerability of people and natural systems to this change. The result is that the amount of capital needed to equip communities to strengthen their resilience varies, as does a market-based cost-benefit analysis.
The aim of the project would be to improve the understanding and measure the impact of microfinance on: i) social inclusion of marginalised people, ii) the implementation of climate change adaptation strategies; and iii) to identify the conditions necessary in order to maximise the efficacy of this tool with the aim of providing a decision-making tool within the framework of SDGs strategy for 2030 for sustainable and inclusive growth.
9. Racial discrimination in the labour market
The ‘equal pay’ legislation and the general legislation on human rights prescribe that wage setting and worker hiring be completely ‘colour-blind’. Yet there is a considerable racial wage gap in advanced economies and segregation phenomena are widespread, meaning that people of different ‘race’ (i.e. different skin colour or national/ethnic origin) are concentrated in different jobs. A vast economic and interdisciplinary literature, empirical and theoretical, addressed such difficult and important questions since the 1970s -namely i) Racial bias in educational choices; ii) The effects of stereotypes; iii) The effects of ‘affirmative actions’. Two main methodologies are adopted for the study of these issues: regression analysis (based on statistical surveys) and field experiments (based on real outcomes in fictitious randomized settings). Such a mix of methods mirrors the position of this topic at a crossroad of different disciplines: economics, sociology, political science, and law.
10. Social vulnerabilities, public policies and human rights
This area of research aims at critically assessing the development of the policies and systems to regulate and intervene in a number of situations involving specific groups or individuals whose status is characterized by elements of vulnerability, due to the influence of multiple socio-political, economic and legal factors. Research may include, among other things: cooperation and referral mechanisms between systems providing protection to victims of trafficking and to persons seeking international protection; effective networking in fighting male violence against women and in protecting the victims of such violence; prevention of serious exploitation of children in forced criminal activities, and protection of the victims thereof; women’s discrimination and women’s rights denial in a variety of socio-political contexts.
University of Padova
Human Rights Centre "Antonio Papisca"
Via Beato Pellegrino, 28
Tel 049 827 1813 / 1817
© Università degli Studi di Padova - Credits: HCE Web agency