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Muhammad Yasir Ali and Ka Lin

index, and social quality index ( Land et al. 2011 ; Abbott et al. 2016 ; Schalock et al. 2005 ). These index systems present information on the ranking based on the survey data but also refer to some statistical data. The main intent of these studies

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Indicators of Social Quality

Outcomes for Belgium

Veerle de Maesschalck

In presenting social quality indicators for Belgium, we have confined ourselves to explaining the national situation concerning these indicators without reflecting on the theory of social quality itself or the broader theoretical framework. When considering social quality from a Belgian perspective, it is important to keep the national context in mind and this is covered in Part I of this article. Part II focuses on the outcomes of social quality indicators, with the findings presented by domain, rather than by component (security, cohesion, inclusion, empowerment). An example of good practice in the context of social quality is provided in Part III, illustrating how the Belgian system of individual work time reduction embodies elements of each of the four components. Finally, we conclude this article by illustrating how Belgium performs in terms of social quality.

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Xu Yanhui and Gong Ziyu

development capability of impoverished people will mean a lot for our practical poverty alleviation work. This article attempts to use the social quality theory and the community capacity theory to study the poverty of Chinese urban residents. Poverty here

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Public Evaluation of Society in China

The Social Quality Approach

Ren Liying and Zou Yuchin

-constitutionalism, which has a mission to design innovative institutions for a good society. The birth of social quality theory in Europe in the 1990s was also a reaction to some negative consequences brought by neoliberal politics and policies. Though the theory has no

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Paule-Monique Vernes

The main ideas of Rousseau relevant to social quality are reviewed here with reference to many of his books and essays. A central theme in Rousseau's work is connected to the evils of inequality where the poor endure their servitude in the name of an illusory common good. The social problem of inequality relates to the political problem of freedom. The social contract requires that the gap between rich and poor be as small as possible; that there is aristocratic government; and that 'the general will' combines the requirement for community with respect for individuality. The article finishes with a discussion of spatial aspects of Rousseau's work relevant to social quality, including the notion of the garden city.

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Anne Fairweather, Borut Rončević, Maj Rydbjerg, Marie Valentová, and Mojca Zajc

Social quality was first conceptualised and developed in the book ‘The Social Quality of Europe’ (Beck et al, 1997). This book, through a series of articles, develops the background to the concept and then produces a theoretical framework of social quality. Finally it critically assesses the possibilities for and problems with the concept. In the present paper, we first look at the concept of social quality itself. We then go on to examine the four components of social quality: socio-economic security, social inclusion, social cohesion and empowerment. In each section on individual components the general conceptualisation of this component is discussed, and this is followed by a discussion of how it fits into the social quality quadrant. A number of issues are then identified, that will require further research.

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Mika Vuori and Mika Gissler

The 1970s could be said to be the ‘golden age’ for social and well-being indicators. After a period of slow progress, new indicators were devised in Europe during the mid-1990s, however, improvements are still needed in the knowledge and scientific theories behind these indicators. New indicators need to be developed and comparable multinational statistics need to be collected. The purpose of this article is to present key findings on social quality in Finland. The situation will be described with data at national level with some international comparisons, derived from different resources of statistics and research. Furthermore, the underlying trends that affect the social quality of Finnish people will be described.

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Chiara Saraceno and Susanna Terracina

Within Europe, Italy exhibits one of the highest levels of internal and regional heterogeneity. This heterogeneity has been long standing (so much so that a research tradition has developed looking at regional diversities as veritable social formations – see e.g. Bagnasco 1977) and at the same time not fixed. Trends in the conditions of social quality, therefore, must be read against this background. In the following paragraphs we will synthetically sketch them, on the basis of the exercise developed within the Social Quality Network (Saraceno and Terracina 2004). We are well aware that this exercise is experimental, and that the system of indicators on which it is based is still largely provisional. Therefore, we will not attempt to draw any conclusion. We will simply present trends within each so-called ‘conditional factor’.

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Juan Monreal and Salvadora Titos

A few years ago Spain was not oriented on social quality but on economic growth at the most basic level. It was necessary to improve economic conditions and to restore and consolidate democracy in order to enable Spain to enter the European Union in 1986. Once a member, Spain set out to increase its economic, political and social standing and saw it approximating the European average on the majority of indicators. As we will see below, Spain still has to improve on some of the indicators in order to reduce some persistent imbalances in its socio-economic structure. Hence, the effort made by Spain for some years now must be maintained in order to consolidate its position at the heart of the European Union from a social quality perspective.

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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.