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Ian Mahoney and Tony Kearon

the role of Euroscepticism, populism, and English nationalism in the Brexit vote, and its potential societal consequences by drawing on social quality theory (SQT) to provide a more in-depth region focused analysis of the anti-EU sentiment in the UK

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Alan Walker

This article examines the extent to which the concept of social quality could contribute to a transformation in the debates about the welfare sustainability in Asia and Europe. The article starts by outlining the concept of social quality: its constitutional, conditional and normative components and the origins of its development as a European conceptual framework. Then a bridge is created between Europe and Asia by looking briefly at the similarities and differences between social quality and human security, a concept that is more familiar in the latter region than the former one. is is followed by a critique of the global discourses on 'sustainability' and, in particular, their dominance by economism. The final part of the article utilizes the concept of social quality to propose a more open and balanced approach to sustainability that brings in social and ecological considerations alongside economic ones. Some tentative suggestions are made concerning the operationalisation of a social quality approach to welfare system sustainability

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Social Quality in Everyday Life

Changing European Experiences of Employment, Family and Community

Sue Yeandle

In this article the concept of 'social quality' is invoked as a way of exploring the impact, relevance and potential of policy and social structural developments for citizens' everyday lives. As a concept, 'social quality' embraces a range of themes each of which has received extensive sociological attention: social cohesion and solidarity as crucial elements in both citizenship and in social institutions such as family, neighbourhood and workplace; autonomy and empowerment as central to the individual's sense of identity and self-worth; economic security, which underpins everyday life and enables people to engage in everyday activities and to approach their future without fear of poverty; and social inclusion, the involvement of individuals in social, economic and cultural aspects of collective life.

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European Network on Indicators of Social Quality

Summary of the Dutch National Report

Pia Steffens and Chris R. J. de Neubourg

This paper presents a first set of data for the theoretical elements that have been developed for Social Quality in the Netherlands. The four social quality conditional factors (Socio-economic Security, Social Cohesion, Social Inclusion and Social Empowerment) will be addressed in an individual paragraph. The last paragraph describes a recent policy initiative that is relevant from the perspective of Social Quality. Emphasis is placed on the fact that policy initiatives frequently constitute a trade off between different components of Social Quality and benefits and costs have to be weighed carefully.

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Laurent L.G. van der Maesen

The main task of this article is to introduce the social quality initiative and to link its recent outcomes to aspects of employment policy. The initiative was launched during the Dutch Presidency in 1997 as a new academic approach to the circumstances of citizens in Europe, the Member States, regions, cities and communities. The idea of social quality arose out of the conflict between European economic and social policy – more specifically, the subordination of the latter to the former – and the lack of any distinct rationale for social policies. Two studies published by the Foundation provided the basis for the initiative’s development, and established the four objective conditional factors or components of social quality: Socio-economic security, cohesion, inclusion, and empowerment.

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Paul Spicker

The concept of social quality has been operationalized in terms of four component dimensions: social inclusion, social cohesion, socio-economic security and social empowerment. This article argues that inclusion and cohesion are aspects of the same underlying social construct. Societies are cohesive to the extent that they are bound by relationships of solidarity; people are included when they are part of solidaristic social networks. Where there is cohesion, there is solidarity, and where there is solidarity, there is inclusion. It follows that the attempt to define social quality in terms of a formal distinction between inclusion and cohesion is doomed to failure. They cannot be treated as distinct elements, and the attempt to distinguish them has led to double-counting.

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Peter Herrmann

This article concerns challenges arising from the development of economic globalization as the so-called “creator of a new world order“ and its tendency to deteriorate the foundation of a global order in terms of social justice, solidarity, and human dignity. As main point of referral functions, the report of the "Commission Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi" on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress that refers to the European Commission's strategy of development, acknowledges the need for these values. On behalf of this reflection, this article is based on the recent outcomes of the exploration of these social quality issues in a recent published book by the Foundation on Social Quality. The article argues that indicators are needed in order to understand the effects of societal changes in response to the current economic globalization, which increases inequality and the fragmentation of the labor market.

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Maria Petmesidou and Periklis Polyzoidis

The subject matter of the ‘social’, defined as the realisation of the self in the context of collective identity, provides the central premise of the social quality perspective. On the basis of this premise the ENIQ (European Network on Indicators of Social Quality) project explored the four conditional factors of social quality, namely the extent to which social structures, patterns of interaction and policy processes, in European societies, promote (or hinder) socio-economic security, social inclusion, social cohesion and empowerment. These are key factors for gauging ‘the extent to which people are able to participate in the social and economic life of their communities under conditions which enhance their well-being and individual potential’ (ENIQ 2004: 2; also Beck et al., 2001). In this article we will briefly examine the four conditional factors of social quality from the viewpoint of socio-economic structures, policies and daily experience in Greece. In the first part we highlight some distinctive features of Greek society that are relevant to our analysis. We then proceed to a short discussion of each of the four conditional factors and their constitutive domains (and indicators). We conclude with some brief remarks on good practices and policy implications.

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Peter R. A. Oeij, Steven Dhondt, and Ton Korver

Social innovation is becoming a core value of the EU flagship initiative Innovation Union, but it is not clearly demarcated as it covers a wide field of topics. To understand social innovation within European policymaking a brief outline is given of EC policy developments on innovation and on workplace innovation. Definitions of social innovation formulated at the societal level and the organizational or workplace level are discussed. Empirical research findings of workplace innovation in the Netherlands are presented as examples showing that workplace innovation activities boost organizational performance. The article explores the relation between workplace innovation and social innovation, and concludes that policy developments in the EU can be studied with the theory of social quality, provided that the latter in its empirical approach focuses on how individuals together constitute innovations.

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Social Innovation, Local Governance and Social Quality

The Case of Intersectoral Collaboration in Hangzhou City

Yong Li, Ying Sun, and Ka Lin

In contemporary European policy discussion, “innovation“ is a term popularly used for finding responses to the pressure of global competition. In various forms of innovation, the accent is mainly given to technical and business innovation but less to social innovation. This article studies the issue of social innovation with reference to the local practice in Hangzhou city, which aims to strengthen the life quality of citizens in this city. These practices develop various forms of inter-sectoral collaboration, resulting in numerous "common denominator subject" (CDS) groups that are promoted by the local government. These practices follow the principles of cooperation and partnership, and thus develop a corporatist mechanism for urban development. Through discussion of these practices this article explores the nature and the features of these CDS groups, and evaluates its meaning for social innovation, local administration, life quality and social quality.