ETHOS – Toward an empirically informed theory of justice and fairness ( was a Horizon 2020 project involving researchers at Migration Mobilities Bristol and five other institutes in the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Hungary and Turkey. The project ran from January 2017 to December 2019.

‘Justice’ is a word that is widely used in politics and policies in many different countries and also in the European Union itself. We were interested in uncovering what different people ­–activists, policymakers, professionals, the person on the street– mean by ‘justice’ and ‘fairness’ to better understand the possibilities of justice, and also why for some people it seems so difficult to achieve. The studies informed a wide range of stakeholders (grassroots activists, trade unions, educationalists, policymakers and others) about different understandings and experiences of justice with a view to supporting attempts to reverse inequalities and to promote justice.

The lead partner was the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. They were responsible for putting together the proposal and they coordinated the project as a whole as well as co-coordinating all work packages. In addition to the University of Bristol, the other partners were the Central European University in Hungary, University of Coimbra in Portugal, Bogadici University in Turkey and European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Austria.

Each partner was responsible for designing and co-ordinating a theme of the research. Bristol designed and co-ordinated various studies on justice as lived experience, focusing on issues of political representation, commodified care and welfare benefits. Each of our partners conducted a national case study on these topics, which we used to write a general paper (called ‘Deliverable’) discussing what the studies reveal about justice and injustice in contemporary Europe. We in turn contributed UK studies that other partners drew on to write their Deliverables.

The Stakeholder Conference Dossier summarises National Case Studies and Deliverables involving the UK team

Core Bristol team members

Researchers: Professor Bridget Anderson and Dr Pier-Luc Dupont, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS) and Migration Mobilities Bristol (MMB)

Research support: Dr Emily Walmsley (SPAIS/MMB) and Emma Newcombe (MMB)


Publications from Bristol work packages

Journal articles and book chapters

Digital media and blogs

Academic presentations

Engagement and impact

UK Final Stakeholder Conference


Stakeholder quotes

For an organisation of Migrants, ETHOS has been very helpful to learn our human rights in the wider context of justice. The workshop was a good chance to meet other organisations working in solidarity and collaboration with them has given us the chance to continue our campaign. Angie Garcia, Waling Waling

I was absolutely inspired by this project’s commitment to giving justice a human face. Balancing robust critiques of regimes of work and welfare, against ordinary citizens’ own conceptions of right and wrong, makes not just for excellent academic work, but also for a beautiful political project. It was a real privilege to be a small part of this during the research process, and witness the brave political programme inspired by bringing together activists, academics, and charity organisers. Olivia Vicol, ETHOS researcher

The ETHOS project provided valuable insights for trade unions on how the hostile environment has deliberately created ‘sites without rights’ that support neo-liberal economic structures. Through the  ETHOS workshop I made useful connections with other organisations we can work with on our advocacy for migrants’ rights and workers’ rights. Rosa Crawford, Trades Union Congress

ETHOS Papers Explained

Click on thumbnail for full versions


Final UK Stakeholder Conference Dossier

Stakeholder conference dossier

This project is associated with the MMB Challenge on Resistance, transformation, justice