The International Association on Social Quality aims to develop the social quality theory, methodology and policy application by exploring the dynamics of contemporary societies as expressed in the socio-economic and financial, socio-political and legal, socio-cultural and welfare, and environmental dimensions of the daily circumstances. Social quality has recently been defined as “the extent to which people are able to participate in soci(et)al relationships under conditions that enhance their well-being, capacity and individual potential. It refers to a real understanding of ‘the social’ as the outcome of the productive and reproductive relationships of people, as ‘realized’ in these for dimensions.
This concept, in connection with this particular understanding of the processes in and between the four dimensions of societal life, provides a new vision on three fields of societal life, where these dimensions come into expression. It concerns: (i) the field of societal complexities, (ii) the field of rural/urban circumstances, and (iii) the field of eco-systems as well as their reciprocity. This reciprocity will result into a decrease, a stabilization, or an increase of the overall sustainability (see: Theory.)
The quality of the social in the context of the reciprocity of the three fields is depended of the nature of the changing of:
- the objective conditions of daily life, including (i) the socio-economic conditions people are living in, (ii) the social cohesion they experience in their communities, (iii) social inclusion to realise their civil rights, (iv) the extent of their social empowerment to enable them to play responsible roles in society and in the processes of societal change, and (v) with the factor of eco-reality.
- the subjective conditions of life, including (i) personal security, (ii) and social recognition, (iii) social responsibility, (iv) their personal capacities to go beyond feelings of alienation, exploitation, discrimination and degradation, and (v) the factor of eco-conscience.
- the normative conditions of life: including (i) social justice and equity, (ii) solidarity at community, national and international level, (iii) equal value of all people, (iv) to defend and enhance their human dignity, and (v) the factor of eco-equilibrium. These also form the basic orientation to judge the outcomes of the linking of the objective and the subjective conditions.
By enhancing and defending these conditions for social quality, the development toward sustainability as a state of dynamic equilibrium between human actors and the whole eco-system, remaining within its resilient boundaries, will be supported. This also implies investments into a sustainable urban development encompassing all policy areas of societal life and tackling the present gross inequalities between citizens, by supporting the transformation of cities an metropoles to create urban centers function as pillars for both sustainability and social quality.