Francesco Laruffa is part of the research team of the IASS Focal Topic 2022, "Justice in Sustainability".
IASS Focal Topic Job title/s: Affiliate Scholar
Languages you speak: Italian (first language), English, French, German
During my studies in Economics, I was often confronted with a particular difficulty. I had the feeling that the abstract models I was learning were not only largely detached from social reality (and therefore potentially useless) but that – despite their mathematical sophistication, which made them seem objective and neutral – they were also vehicles of a worldview that was never openly discussed. Since then, I have pondered questions such as: Is it really possible for social sciences to produce “objective” and “neutral” knowledge? Or do the values and assumptions of the observer always influence the scientific process (e.g. the choice of research questions and methodologies as well as the interpretation of results)? And, to what extent do scientific descriptions and analyses of social reality contribute to the construction of this very reality?
While there are no easy answers to these questions, the increasing number and depth of the problems afflicting the world today – from environmental catastrophes to the crisis of democracy – perhaps require that social sciences go beyond mere analysis. But how could/should scholars engage with society and take up a more political role? Reflecting on these issues has been one of my major preoccupations throughout my studies and research activities, which have taken me to numerous cities across Europe (Turin, Paris, Tübingen, Berlin, Geneva, Bremen and Oxford) and compelled me to engage with different disciplines (Economics, Political Science, Sociology and Philosophy).
3 things that make me unique:
- I like reading and listening to people’s stories
- I am sensitive
- I want to understand and – when possible – promote social justice in all its complexity
3 things I’m learning:
- To bring my research into dialogue with society
- To be more politically engaged
- To challenge dominant and taken-for-granted views
What I’m currently working on at the IASS:
I am an affiliate scholar with the IASS and my research here centres on the focal topic of justice in sustainability. My project addresses the dilemma of green growth versus social-ecological transformation, the implications of social-ecological transformations for work and welfare states, and the role of scholars in co-creating eco-social policies together with citizens.
More about the IASS Focal Topic 2022 “Justice in Sustainability”
Francesco on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Francesco-Laruffa