Creating resilient communities

Barriers To Kindness In Public Service Provision

Project reference number: GSBS-S2018-009-Asenova

They have also highlighted that positive relationships and kindness are at the very heart of individual welfare (JRF & Carnegie Trust, 2016) as everyday relationships and kindness are fundamental to the wellbeing of individuals and communities. In exploring such relationships and networks little research has been conducted that explores the complex nature of kindness, risk and trust involved in care and support, particularly for the elderly in society (Gilhooly et al., 2012).

The issue of kindness has particular significance in the context of public service provision which now relies on a set of providers from the public, private and voluntary sectors with diverse objectives and values, all which have been exposed to prolonged budget pressures (Asenova et al., 2014; 2015; House of Commons, 2016). This multifaceted nature of service providers can act as a barrier in building capacity and resilience amongst communities but have an important role in connecting diverse strands of the community and social networks through shared interests and proximity.

This research will consider the moral responsibility and/or values associated with acts of kindness from a community or state perspective in pursing individual wellbeing and cooperative aims (Hobbes, 1968; Nickel & Vasesen, 2012).

It focuses on the infrastructure of connections, relationships and values that occur in the context of local public service provision in Scotland. Its findings will underpin community cohesion, participation and engagement and genuine community empowerment. They will promote better understanding of the factors that can encourage kinder and more coherent communities.

Application deadline

The application deadline for October 2018 start, is the 1st of July 2018.

Research supervisors

Candidates are encouraged to contact the following researchers for further details:

Mode of study

This project is available as a:

  • PhD: 3 years full-time or 4.5 years part-time


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Specific requirements of the project

The successful applicant will hold the minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above). Previous experience of qualitative research methodology is desirable.