Our aim

Our aim is to research individuals’ cooperation in care, from the particular viewpoint of meaning systems including religion.

CoCARE 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, particularly in the midst of restructuring of the welfare states. 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.


This project investigates the chances and conflicts of cooperation in care from the particular perspective of religion and other meaning systems with the following two research questions:

  1. What are the key features of cooperation in care in our case studies? How mutuality is expressed in the everyday, and what kind of chances and conflicts, and their mixtures, can be depicted? How the ideal and actual cooperation are depicted and lived?
  2. How are meaning systems intertwined in these chances and conflicts? How they are constructive and destructive for cooperation in care? What are the particular roles of religion (ranging from traditionally defined religion to spirituality and to the experiences of putting one´s values and experiences of sacredness into action) in this?

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