This issue of the International Journal of Social Quality looks at the socio-political and socio-cultural dimensions of sustainability in social quality analysis. Some articles refer to the notion of sustainability, which stimulates transformative changes in society, and the consequences for the explicit or implicit integration with the sociopolitical dimension and the environmental dimension, as well as for the well-being of people all over the world, thus the socio-cultural dimension. Two interesting questions are, first, how can new forms of public participation and democratic practices and policies to stimulate environmental protection be developed, transforming the socio-political and legal context in order to contribute to the development of overall sustainability? Second, how can community involvement and new communication technologies be stimulated, which can be productive for the adequate transformation of the socio-cultural and welfare dimensions? Both issues were addressed in the Aarhus Convention of 1998, which highlighted information on environmental matters as a key right for citizens and a condition for effective public participation in decision-making processes. The concept of “social empowerment” connects the dimensions and – with reference to the four normative factors of social quality as well – delivers arguments for changing the dominant production, distribution and consumption systems and patterns.
The purpose of this article is to analyze environmental public participation in the UK from the perspective of the polluting organization. Public participation, or an organization's stakeholder management, describes various channels available for the public to engage with and influence decision-making processes. Over the lifetime of an organization, the public seeks to engage with the organization or with specific goods or services offered. Such concerns and requests are made, and the organization responds to them, according to how salient members of the public are as stakeholders at a given time and place. Using case study examples from the UK, I illustrate the channels of engagement, the public interest groups that do engage and how effective these procedures are. It follows from this that early, inclusive and open engagement with the objective of participation in decision-making processes are the most effective public participation models and have the greatest social quality potential.
The New Opportunities Offered by Communication
Renato Fontana and Martina Ferrucci
Compared to the European scenario that emerged from the analysis of Eurobarometer (2011–2014) surveys, we conducted a research on the opinions of the Italian students and professionals from eight focus groups about the relation between environmental issues, social quality and communication. The assumption is that communication is a strategic factor that could contribute to determining the social quality and, consequently, the satisfaction of the common people. The study demonstrates that it is necessary to plan well-thought-out communication activities aimed at increasing awareness of environmental issues. Findings from this study support the need to develop a greater awareness and a renewed critical consciousness of the relationships between person, environment and social quality.
A Case Study of Pakistan
Syed Shahbaz Hussain and Pirzada Sami Ullah Sabri
This article analyzes and explores what policies Pakistan adopted to tackle its environmental challenges, effects and outcomes. The research consists of an overview of Pakistan's national environmental policy development and explains the motives and reasons to understand in what context the state formulates these policies. It also makes assessments and evaluations about to what extent policies are successful in achieving their objectives. The study suggests some implications of the Pakistan experience to cope with the global challenges of environmental protection.
Social, Environmental and Economic Dimensions
Scholars are researching how to assess a country's sustainable development performance. However, not many proposals differentiate the performance via the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. This article proposes to assess a country's sustainable development performance in general as well as in each of the dimensions. It pursues three objectives: (1) identifying sustainably developed countries; (2) assessing the best performers in terms of sustainable development; and (3) understanding the relations between the dimensions. Results show a globally bad sustainable development performance, with no sustainably developed countries. They also show that the economic dimension is not the best performing dimension at a global level and that very high levels of gross national income (GNI) per capita usually imply a bad environmental performance.
Jean-Christophe Marcel and Mike Gane
Raymond Boudon (ed.), Durkheim fut-il durkheimien? Jean-Christophe Marcel
Marcel Mauss, Techniques, technologie et civilisation, ed. N. Schlanger
Jean-François Bert (ed.), 'Les Techniques du corps' de Marcel Mauss: Dossier critique Mike Gane
Márcio de Oliveira
Durkheim's trajectory in Brazil began at the end of the nineteenth century. His work went on to become influential in the creation of Brazil's first social sciences courses at São Paolo and in the career of one of Brazil's most important sociologists, Florestan Fernandes. Currently, Durkheim remains one of the most quoted social theorists in Brazil, and his books are mandatory for every social science course in Brazilian universities. But he has not inspired many followers, and there are very few Durkheim experts in Brazil. This article attempts to understand this apparent paradox through a critical account of the main moments of Durkheim's career in Brazil, from the beginning to the present day.
Explication Entries are in the chronological order of Durkheim’s requests, and are set out as follows: entry number; author’s surname; text’s main title; year of publication; [remarks]; catalogue number; *[number of a corresponding loan]
William Watts Miller. A Durkheimian Quest: Solidarity and the Sacred. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2012, 275 pp.
Domestic Social Changes and the Impact of "Welfare Internationalism" in South Korea and Taiwan (1945–2012)
Won-Sub Kim and Shih-Jiunn Shi
The development of social policy in East Asia has been gaining momentum in recent decades, challenging scholars to offer an explanation. This article addresses two questions: Are we witnessing the rise of welfare states in East Asia? And if so, what are the driving forces behind this development? We draw on theoretical perspectives of Franz-Xaver Kaufmann, who emphasizes the relationship between the state and civil society as the context of welfare statism, and who elaborated the role of international organizations and law in social policy ("welfare internationalism"). Choosing South Korea and Taiwan as examples, we explore the role of international policy diffusion, highlighting the interaction of international and domestic factors. We find that South Korea and Taiwan have indeed turned into welfare states, and that external "social" ideas, which have received little attention in previous research, have contributed to this development in different historical phases. Our analysis extends Kaufmann's perspective beyond Western welfare states.