Boosting “full” environmental justice and resilience in communities facing transitions


JUST4WHOM will investigate the psychosocial and symbolic dimensions of pre-existing or emerging injustices in the transition dynamics toward climate-neutral societies. It will better understand and operationalise the “environmental justice” (EJ) construct. It will also implement concrete actions to reduce inequalities and promote active citizenship and resilience in communities facing transformations.

The institutional framework will be the Just Transition Mechanism, ie the EU financial tool to support communities affected by the socioeconomic challenges of the ongoing transition. It requires the proposal of territorial plans arising from the dialogue between institutional representatives and a territorial partnership of public and private actors, including citizens. While the value of this tool is undeniable, it tends to provide a partial view of EJ, predominantly in economic and political terms.

Such a vision risks neglecting - or not adequately addressing - the underlying causes and implications of injustices, potentially leading to further inequalities and vulnerabilities. Social sciences are committed to identifying vulnerable social groups to alleviate the socioeconomic impacts of the transition. However, the scientific literature renders a somewhat fragmented and non-univocal conceptualisation of the EJ construct. It provides a theoretical framework developed along a few fundamental mechanisms (e.g. distributive, procedural, recognition and restorative justice), which do not necessarily exhaust the complexity of the social dynamics involved in creating inequalities (e.g. identity processes, collective memories, symbolic meanings). Thus, the issue of what the “just transition” is and for whom is still under discussion.

JUST4WHOM will contribute to this debate.

  1. First, JUST4WHOM will examine conceptualisations of EJ to converge towards a comprehensive definition and shed light on discrepancies between perspectives. It will allow the design of a theoretical model for EJ to grasp the underlying psychosocial dimensions and their mutual relationships.
  2. Second, JUST4WHOM will release methodological tools to measure the psychosocial antecedents and consequences of perceived injustices. Tools will be developed and validated through a participatory process that will actively involve vulnerable communities facing transition with a citizen science approach.
  3. Third, JUST4WHOM will contribute to concretely boosting people’s resilience. It will implement actions targeted by social groups (e.g. children, elderly, minorities) to highlight potential clashes between “macro” and local views of EJ, to meet specific community needs and expectations, and to promote the imaginability of alternative future scenarios and innovative resources to solve local challenges.
    Overall, JUST4WHOM will impact policy design and planning to reduce inequalities and achieve a “full” just transition for all.


The general purpose of JUST4WHOM will be to investigate the psychosocial and symbolic dimensions of injustices in the transition dynamics towards climate-neutral societies.

The guiding questions will be:

  • what does “just transition” actually mean (and imply)?
  • for whom is it?
  • how can “full” EJ for all be achieved?

More specifically, the research program will have three main goals:

  1. to provide a better knowledge of the EJ construct
  2. to develop, through a participatory process, an effective operationalisation of the EJ construct
  3. to contribute concretely to boosting resilience in vulnerable communities facing transition

Achieving these goals, JUST4WHOM will deliver three corresponding outcomes:

  1. theoretical model: the design of a comprehensive and sound model for EJ able to grasp the underlying psychosocial and symbolic dimensions and their mutual relationships
  2. methodological tools: the release of methodological tools able to measure the psychosocial antecedents and consequences of injustices
  3. concrete actions: to implement actions targeted by vulnerable groups to reduce inequalities and expand active and inclusive citizenship




  • Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage (DFBC), Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Host Institution
  • Department of Communication and Social Research (CORIS), Sapienza University of Roma