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Themes ISR

Multidisciplinary approach

In addition to the cooperation with various societal partners, the ISR unites scientists from within the various social scientific disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach is essential to describe, interpret, analyze and achieve new insights for the complex challenges that society is facing today. 

Themes ISR

  • Resilient Governance

    Which factors influence resilience in the fields of policing, security and social policy? In what way do professionals contribute to this type of resilience, and to what extent are they resilient themselves?

    These and other questions will be explored and answered in collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the fields of (plural) policing, security and social policy.

    Resilient governance: resilience is an important concept in turbulent times in which policing and security issues, like crime, radicalization, emotionally disturbed persons and social tensions play an important role. Governance refers to a proper organization and management of these issues.  

    Professionals: governance is eventually carried out by professionals involved in policies and practices. Think, for example, of police officers, municipal law enforcers, healthcare providers and social supporters.

    Urgency: those professionals are increasingly under pressure of an ever growing bureaucratic load, rising public expectations and a demanding clientele. Therefore, researchers and professionals will explore the following research questions:

    1. What role do professionals play in the fields of policing, security and social policy, and how do they consider the essence of their professionalism?
    2. What values do these professionals deem of importance in the execution of their duties and the assurance of their professionalism? Which bottlenecks do they experience here? 
    3. How can they be supported and motivated while performing their duties? 
    4. How do groups of professionals work together and how can their collaborations best be supported?
    5. What makes these groups of professionals resilient?

    In answering such research questions both researchers and practitioners need to bundle their knowledge and expertise in the fields of policing, security and social policy. Researchers strive for an engaged social science that will prepare professionals for future challenges. 

    Continuous reflection and co-creation between researchers and their societal partners (such as police forces, municipalities, security companies, healthcare professionals, etc.) is the starting point to create added value. This added value has both practical relevance (in the form of action research, reports and input for training and/or education) as well as scientific relevance (through peer reviewed publications and the creation of international scholarly networks). 

    Dr. Ronald van Steden, theme leader Resilient Governance – professionals in the field of policing, security and social policy.

    T 06 543 810 92
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  • Resilience through diversity and inclusion

    In a time of increasing (polarising) diversity and inequality, which factors facilitate resilience and which do not? What determines the societal resilience of individuals? Which factors facilitate the resilience of individuals and which do not, especially in times of increasing (polarizing) diversity and inequality? How can organizations and society contribute to inclusion? 

    Recent discussions on refugees and Europe reveal several parallel processes: on the one hand there is an increased involvement of citizens with refugees, on the other hand there is a determination to keep refugees out of Europe. Resilience in this case could refer both to the ability to maintain the existing situation as well as the ability for change.

    On the point where social continuity and social change meet, multiple interests, ideas and visions for the future emerge that compete with or even exclude each other. In this context ‘resilience’ offers the perspective to reflect on alternatives for the growing polarization and inequality in the world.  

    Within the theme 'Resilience through Diversity and Inclusion' we study these layered processes and we investigate the conditions that can contribute to a sustainable alternative to the growing tensions and uncertainties at various levels (micro, meso and macro).

    Relevant research questions:

    • What facilitates the ability of individuals to be resilient citizens? What are the life strategies to act more resiliently in an environment of growing inequality and polarization?
    • What are the social conditions in terms of institutions and organizations which promote or hinder individual resilience? Here we refer to the sustainability of new collective images and structures of cooperation, taking into consideration the current (super) diversity of culture, religion, gender, age and class.
    • What is the role of public discourse (public space, policy) in promoting an inclusive society that is resilient enough to cope with rising tensions due to growing diversity?

    Prof. dr. Halleh Ghorashi, theme leader Resilience through diversity and inclusion.


  • Interconnectedness

    New media technologies are changing the world, our society is turning into a network society and our dependence on media is growing. Do these processes have a positive or a detrimental effect on our resilience? And how can we use new media technologies to enhance our resilience?

    Interconnectedness, i.e. the interactions between individuals, groups and organizations, effectively contributes to societal resilience. Furthermore, 'resilient interconnectedness' gives people the ability to effectively deal with (sometimes abrupt) social change. Society is increasingly developing into a network society, and new technologies and new media have brought about major changes in communication and organizational processes.

    The theme of interconnectedness focuses on the impact these new media technologies, such as the Internet and social media, have on interconnectedness. Do society and individuals benefit from these new media technologies or are they actually harmful? Can new media technologies be used to achieve desirable social goals, such as creating a better understanding of the world or to nurture more mutual trust?

    Relevant research questions

    • What influence does the Internet and do emerging technologies have on individuals, organizations and society? How do communication and the way we form relationships change?
    • What does it mean for the resilience of society if we revert increasingly to online networks and virtual media?
    • How do existing organizations and organizational processes change as a result of new media technologies and new forms of interconnectedness?

    Dr. Tilo Hartmann, theme leader interconnectedness.


  • Care and welfare in a resilient society

    Which factors relating to healthcare and welfare are important for individual resilience? How do organizations deal with the effects of healthcare and social security arrangements? Which public policies contribute to individual and community resilience in the forms of formal and informal participation?

    Within the domain of care and welfare ‘societal resilience’ is being threatened by a number of factors. Our social fabric is under pressure because of a growing number of caretakers (which in turn is a result of aging, immigration, and increased poverty). The availability of assistance and care is severely under pressure, though the government perseveres in a policy of increased self-reliance. How do we achieve a social structure that preserves high levels of social solidarity as well as equal opportunities for social participation?

    New technologies in healthcare
    The theme Care and Welfare examines the conditions under which people can be successful in formal and informal forms of participation. To what extent do different opportunities in education, labour market participation, political and social participation influence this participation? What impact does participation have on health, well-being and quality of life? Another focus is on the use of new technologies (e.g. robots in health care) and the use of volunteers by local organizations. We also look at the actions of employers and how they enable the labour market participation of specific groups, such as older people and the disabled. Finally, we examine which social policies enable individuals and societies to optimally cope with social risks.

    Relevant research questions

    • Individual differences in employment, education, social and political participation, informal care; under which individual and social conditions do citizens succeed to achieve formal and informal forms of participation?
    • What are the effects of new forms of institutional arrangements with regard to the labour market, healthcare and social security?
    • How can new governance structures and organizational forms contribute to health and welfare with a balanced division of responsibilities, financial systems and partnerships between government, the market, civil society and citizens?

    Prof. dr. Bianca Beersma, theme leader Care and welfare in a resilient society.