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:: Calls :: Ethics and Social Welfare In Hard Times – a 10th Anniversary Conference for the journal Ethics and Social Welfare will be held in London on 1-2 September 2016. Deadline for submitting papers and panels: February 28. 


Call for papers and panels

The Organizers welcome proposals of papers (300 words) and panels of 3 papers (including a title, 100-word description, plus paper outlines).  Deadline: 28 February 2016.

Please send submissions to the email address below, and insert the word ‘SUBMISSION’ at the beginning of the subject line.


This will open in June 2016, with a non-residential fee expected to be £100, plus optional conference dinner on 1 September.

A limited number of subsidised places will be available for postgraduate students and those without institutional financial support.

Proposals and queries to: 2016esw@gmail.com


Keynote speakers
– Eva Feder Kittay (Stony Brook University)

– Andrew Sayer (Lancaster University)

– Sue White (University of Birmingham)



The landscape of social welfare has changed markedly since the financial crisis of 2008 – especially where governments, as in Europe and elsewhere, have actively pursued an austerity agenda. This raises stark ethical challenges, concerning how best to manage the impacts both of cuts themselves, and of ideological shifts to the priorities of the public sector and the wider public sphere. At the same time, global inequalities, sharp increases in numbers of refugees and in the migration of workers in care and domestic labour, remind us of the need for a global perspective.  But how should we approach those challenges from an ethical point of view? To what extent does the landscape of values remain the same, even amid shifts in economic and political circumstances?  What responsibilities does society have for the welfare of the most vulnerable, here and elsewhere?  How much does it matter who delivers services to the most vulnerable in society, and on what terms, as long as their needs are met?  And to what extent do ethical priorities differ, in hard times?

This international conference aims to attract academics, practitioners, commentators, activists, service-users and others with an interest in the relationship between ethics, social justice and relevant arenas of contemporary policy and practice.  Its audience will be cross-disciplinary, from social work and social policy through to philosophy, politics and sociology.  We welcome contributions addressing social, political and moral theory, alongside empirical studies of the impacts of austerity – but in both respects, with a focus on the application of key ideas and values in social justice to issues of pressing practical concern. We are keen to include papers exploring the international dimension of these issues of care – in light, for example, of the current migrant crisis and of the pursuit of austerity economics across Europe and beyond.  And we place a particular priority on attention to voices seldom heard in the mainstream of debate on these issues – and among academics, on the inclusion of early career researchers alongside their well-established peers.

Issues and themes

  • Social welfare and theories of equality
  • Personalisation and structural inequality
  • Global interdependencies
  • Fairness in theory and practice
  • Private sector provision and social justice
  • Impacts of income inequality
  • Care and/vs. justice
  • Redistribution and recognition
  • The contemporary relevance of traditional ethical theories
  • Neoliberalism and its alternatives
  • Inclusion and participation
  • Hearing marginalized voices
  • Charity and/vs. justice
  • The ethical responsibilities of the rich

… with a focus on ethical practice in relation to, for example:

  • Class
  • Gender
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Religious diversity
  • Disability
  • Sexuality
  • Poverty
  • Migration
  • The market as service provider
  • Children and young people
  • Older people
  • Families
  • Healthcare
  • The hardest hit by cuts
  • Future generations

This is an indicative, non-exhaustive list.  The Organizers expect and welcome a wide range of questions, focal points, and modes of debate.


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