Cooperation in care. Meaning systems, chances and conflicts (CoCare)

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description (abstract)

CoCARE –project will shed novel light on the multifaceted role of meaning systems in individuals´ cooperation in care. In his recent, award-winning book Together (2012) Richard Sennett notes that living with people who differ – racially, ethnically, religiously, or economically– is the most urgent challenge facing civil society today. We are in urgent need of cooperation, especially amidst the restructuring of the welfare state. This project explores cooperation in the most crucial arena, care, which is on the verge of significant transformations due to changing demographics, population ageing and structural reforms. We focus on meaning systems, including religion, as they are still and especially in these turbulent times acting as major forces of cooperation and care but can – and do – also encourage conflicts, animosity and even violence. The project includes five case studies, focusing on both the dynamics of individuals in group-cooperation (eg. peer support groups) and on individual and societal mutuality (eg. self-help literature, welfare responsibilities). The project will collect and use international and comparative data, employing various and mixed methods. The results of the project provide new understanding of cohesion, conflict and meaning systems. The project also results to significant knowledge transfer to stake holders: it will provide crucial information for decision-making, and reach a wide audience via dissemination in seminars, newsletter, and media coverage.

Case studies:
Three of the cases will focus on the dynamics of individuals in group-cooperation:
1. Peer support groups of older adults: wisdom and care in social processes (Jenni Spännäri, University of Helsinki) Qualitative with focus group and individual interviews.
2. Novel peer support at a hospital (Anu Toija, University of Jyväskylä). both quantitative (n=260) and qualitative (n=20) data
3. Immigrants: civil society and volunteering (N.N, Doctoral Student, University of Helsinki) Qualitative, interviews
Two of our cases will then focus on individual and societal mutuality:
4. Self-help and conceptions of a ‘good life’ in Finland, Russia and the US (Anne Birgitta Pessi, University of Helsinki & Suvi Salmenniemi, University of Turku) Uses a selection of self-help literature,
reader stories and interviews, and a reception study
5. Views on division of welfare responsibility (Henrietta Grönlund, University of Helsinki) both representative quantitative data and interviews / round table discussions.
Effective start/end date01/09/201431/08/2018


  • SUOMEN AKATEMIA: €600,000.00

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology