This article reports on the methodology for setting the Mexican User Satisfaction Index for Social Programs (MUSI-SP) as tested in seven national social programs. The evaluation is based on Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). How satisfaction takes the central place of the SEM, which postulates its causes and effects, contributes to the increased validity and reliability of satisfaction indicators that allow benchmarking between social programs. The MUSI model is an adaptation of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) model. The MUSI methodology includes qualitative and quantitative techniques. The estimation model is by the Partial Least Squares (PLS). In each of the seven social programs, no statistical evidence was found to reject the main relationships postulated by the ACSI’s model: that Perceived Quality impacts Satisfaction, and Satisfaction impacts Trust. The improvement opportunity areas were also identified for each program. These results give valid and reliable feedback to public policies.
Odette Lobato-Calleros, Humberto Rivera, Hugo Serrato, María Elena Gómez, and Ignacio Méndez Ramírez
Seventeen Sightings of the “Social” in Economic Development Policy Writing
Semantic codes constitute the world (or parts of it), not in a mechanistic “cause-and-effect” sense but through another type of linkage. This article explores some of the semantic code, the “semantic DNA,” of mainstream neoclassical economic development policy thinking and writing and looks at what that mode of thinking incorporates into its discourse as “social.” The various forms of the “social” in economics discourse add up, from a sociologist’s viewpoint, to disappointingly little: they mainly consist of a miscellaneous set of noneconomic aspects that mainstream economic thinking can use to blame for the policy-performance gap between what such thinking promises and what it often actually delivers.
The significance of giving as a contemporary socio-economic practice has been obscured both by mainstream economics and by the influence of the anthropological tradition. Andrew Sayer’s concept of moral economy offers a more fruitful framework for an economic sociology of contemporary giving, and one that appears to be largely consistent with social quality approaches. This article analyzes giving from the perspective of moral economy, questioning the view that giving is a form of exchange, and opening up the prospect of seeing it as the outcome of a more complex constellation of causal factors. It uses examples from the digital economy, in particular the phenomenon of open-source software, which nicely illustrates both the progressive potential of digital gifts and the ways in which they can be absorbed into the commercial economy.
Toward a New Social Settlement
This article presents proposals for a new social settlement – a framework for deciding how people live together and what they expect from government, now and for the future. The proposed settlement has three goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. To achieve these goals we have identified a set of objectives too often ignored in mainstream debates: achieving prosperity without depending on economic growth; shifting investment and action upstream to prevent harm rather than coping with the consequences; strengthening the “core economy” of unpaid work, everyday wisdom, and social connections; and fostering solidarity and an understanding of how individuals depend on each other to achieve shared goals. The article draws on a report from the New Economics Foundation, which focuses on the United Kingdom but offers a framework for developing policy and practice that may be useful in other countries, especially in the developed world.
Robert Parkin, W. S. F. Pickering, and Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi
Robert Hertz. OEuvres publiées: édition critique, ed. Cyril Isnart, Paris: Classiques Garniers, 2014, 466 pp. Review by Robert Parkin
Matthieu Béra. Emile Durkheim à Bordeaux (1887–1902), Bordeaux: Éditions Confluences, 2014, 135 pp. Review by W. S. F. Pickering
Alexander Riley, The Social Thought of Émile Durkheim, Los Angeles and London: Sage, 2015, xi + 263 pp. Review by W. S. F. Pickering
Sondra Hausner (ed.), Durkheim in Dialogue: A Centenary Celebration of The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, New York and Oxford: Berghahn, 2013, 267 pp. Review by Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi
Eduardo Cintra Torres
This article aims to bring out Durkheim's development of a pioneering sociology of the crowd, overlapping with yet going beyond psychological theories of the time. It begins by exploring the terminology used by Durkheim, colleagues and contemporaries in referring to crowds/gatherings/assemblies, and next asks about the social, political and intellectual context in which 'the crowd' became a key issue, as in the Dreyfus Affair and among writers such as Tarde. It then focuses on the issue's discussion in Durkheim's new journal, the Année sociologique, as well as in his own major works, but above all in Les Formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, which offers a seminal, if concealed, sociology of the crowd.
Where Did It Go?
This article attempts to put forward new perspectives on solidarity in Durkheim's work, useful for an understanding of contemporary reality. First, it sketches why his modern 'cult of man' should be understood as an instance of mechanical solidarity, and discusses how to generalize this scenario and move beyond the idea of the 'cult of man' as mechanical solidarity's sole modern instance. Next, it investigates some of the shortcomings of Durkheim's diagnosis of modernity itself. This is in an effort to show how these shortcomings – reflected in his critique of the modern economy, his interactionism, his focus on the whole and his insensitivity to the ephemeral and aesthetic – led Durkheim to overlook the persistence of mechanical solidarity in the modern world and hindered him from developing the explanatory potential of his sociology of religion in a modern context. The article then explores the dynamic, decentred, 'individualized' and mediated nature of contemporary forms of collective formation by selectively extrapolating from the relation in Durkheim's work between the individual and the social. Finally, in returning to the question of mechanical solidarity in modern society, it outlines the contours of a concept of collective consciousness applicable to a modern setting.
This article explores the significance of recently discovered records of Durkheim's university library loans during his time at Bordeaux. After introducing and explaining the nature of these records, and presenting various quantitative and qualitative issues raised by them, the article concentrates on understanding Durkheim's loans through tracking the different main uses he made of them. This first involves their role in his publications, but is then above all a concern with how they fed into his lectures. Discussion starts with his courses in sociology, moves on to those in education and psychology, and finishes with his preparation of students for an examination in philosophy (the agrégation). Although a few of Durkheim's courses survive, his library loans are a way to throw light on lectures that mostly seem lost forever.
The ambitions of this journal include the goal of stimulating a debate about the similarities and differences between various approaches dedicated to current major societal challenges. As well as social quality thinking, the human security approach and the related human development/capability approach aim to understand changes in daily circumstances and to contribute in one or another way to new politics and policies. General questions regarding all these approaches include: What is the scientific quality of their conceptual framework? Which instruments do they apply to analyze changes in people’s daily circumstances? To what policies do they contribute in order to further their normative ideals? What are those ideals? Answers to these questions will help one recognise the similarities of and differences between the approaches and what they can offer each other.
Why would eligible people decline an offer of welfare services? In regard to this question and in the context of changes in the welfare state, this paper discusses the shift 'from entitlements to provisions'. After sketching the size of non-take-up and the social composition of those declining the offer of services, some tentative reasons or motives for non-take-up are presented. The discussion is derived from various approaches including the capability approach, Dahrendorf's approach of the “modern social conflict”, and social quality theory (SQT). These approaches are placed in the perspective of the “person,” as in the group/grid scheme developed by anthropologist Mary Douglas. The paper concludes that, in order to understand the phenomenon of non-take-up, a differentiated conception of the person, for which SQT is a prime inspiration, is a condition sine qua non.