The social quality approach (SQA) can be considered as a specific collective representation that has the possibilities to be used as a policy instrument, thus as a method of social, cultural and economic change. The SQA contains important conditional factors: socioeconomic security, social cohesion, social inclusion and social empowerment. These factors seem to be in the first place objectives of social and economic change. In reference to the constructionalist factors, this article also analyses the specific nature of collective representations and their many variations. They are regarded as fundamental elements in social quality studies. In the last part, this study assesses the relevance of social quality studies and their usefulness in relation with various issues in a democratic society or in societies that are on the road towards a democratic future.