When marriage becomes a prison

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:34

“Till death do us part” – or divorce, we should perhaps add to that most famous of all marriage vows. In the Netherlands, one in three marriages ends in divorce. And the Dutch government has plans to permit divorce without judicial intervention, which means – in some cases at least – separating is set to become even easier. However, the end of a civil marriage does not necessarily imply the end of its religious equivalent. This is a serious social problem for religious and migrant communities in our multicultural society, and can even lead to instances of marital captivity.


“Pavlov, does that ring a bell?”

In Mind
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 14:57

According to ‘eating professor’ Anita Jansen, a scientist must also be a writer. Those who write clearly think clearly, she teaches her PhD candidates. And apparently, they listen: Karolien van den Akker is barely halfway through her PhD research, but has already won the Publication Prize of the journal De Psycholoog. “I can’t stand ‘authority arguments’”, says Jansen. “You know, of the sort: I’m a professor so that’s how it is.”


Working on activation (video)

In Society
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:10

In today’s welfare state, labour participation is viewed as the ideal tool for gauging a person’s social participation and a way to promote individual and social prosperity. This, however, has proven extremely difficult to implement in practice, particularly for people with disabilities. This dissertation reveals how the specific design of activation in vocational rehabilitation programmes unintentionally achieves opposite results. It also reveals how professionals are hampered in supporting the most vulnerable individuals due to the framework within which they operate. At the same time, this analysis demonstrates how (professional) creativity and more discretionary space can reverse processes of exclusion. These analyses are based on stories about disabilities, vocational rehabilitation and (labour) participation told by clients and professionals.


“Every individual with a developmental disorder has the right to a diagnosis.” These are the words of Connie Stumpel, professor of Clinical Genetics at Maastricht University and head of the Clinical Genetics outpatient clinic at the MUMC+. She also chairs the board of the Stichting Vooruit, a foundation for children with disabilities.

A job for everyone

In Money
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 09:21
“I’m irritated by colleagues who say things in the media about the current crisis with the greatest authority. It’s precisely a crisis like this that shows economists need to be more modest in their pretentions. We can explain with hindsight exactly what went wrong, but making even rough predictions? No, we need to be much more modest in this.” Joan Muysken, economics professor and co-founder of the economics faculty, will deliver his valedictory lecture at UM on 29 November. He looks back on his career.

The law is not always the solution

In Society
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:59
The collapse in April of a textiles factory in Bangladesh that killed 1127 workers shocked the world. Suddenly, stores like Primark, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger and G-Star turned out to be acutely interested in working conditions and safety at their suppliers’ factories. PhD candidate Mark Kawakami, who studies human rights in sweatshops, and his supervisor Jan Smits, professor of Private European Law, were not exactly surprised. “Social pressure is sometimes stronger than strict legislation.”

The science of fans

In Culture
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:52
Most people play computer games for fun. But for assistant professor Karin Wenz, gaming is serious business. At the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, she coordinates the project Narrative Fan Practices, funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The researchers scrutinise fans not only of computer games, but also of TV series, movies and other forms of popular culture. The content they generate constitutes more than just fun: it has an impact on our very culture.

It’s a man’s world – but not for long

In Society
Friday, 01 November 2013 07:58
Cardiovascular diseases manifest differently in men than in women – this is now reasonably well known within and beyond medical science. Yet the male bias in science is still widespread. The traditional test subjects are male rats and, in later research stages, men. “But scientific research that doesn’t take account of sex and gender differences is poor research”, says Dr Ineke Klinge, associate professor of Gender Medicine at Maastricht University. At the request of the European Commission, she led the project Gendered Innovations, which encourages researchers to give sex and gender the place in scientific research they deserve.


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