The Dutch and the English, two of my favourite languages, are the only Western European idioms capable of making one fundamental distinction of political science, i.e., between politiek and beleid, politics and policy. And here is where we have to start. Politics, briefly and grossly summarised, is about deciding the game to be played and about settling the goals and the rules of it. Policy is about how to score in a given game with given rules. Politics, then, precedes and wraps up policy.
Göran Therborn and Sonia Therborn
‘Social quality’ is not a common term in Sweden and its sister notion ‘quality of life’ is used mainly with respect to the conditions of particular individuals and rarely, if ever, in social analysis. Swedish social statistics and social studies focus on ‘levels of living’ or ‘living conditions’. The perceived subjectivity connotations of ‘quality’ in this context have not been attractive. On the other hand, Swedish social research and policy evaluation have de facto been very much concerned with measuring what may properly be called qualitative dimensions of living conditions and correspondingly less interested in, for example, the possession of consumer goods.
Wolfgang Beck, Jan Berting, Peter Herrmann, Thomas Lenk, Ota de Leonardis, Laurent J.G. van der Maesen, Iñigo Sagardoy de Simón, Ivan Svetlik, Zsusza Széman, Volkmar Teichmann, Göran Therborn, Christiane Villain-Gandossi, Alan Walker, and Sue Yeandle
Notes on contributors