Projects in Collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)

Project 2017

Joint Effort for International Journal

Thanks to the collaboration with scholars of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou dating back to 2007, IASQ has had the opportunity to start a dialogue with representatives of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) about collaboration for disseminating and enhancing the social quality approach (SQA). As a first step, a beginning was made with the further elaboration of the International Journal of Social Quality for five years, starting in 2018. In 2017, both CASS and IASQ have signed a contract with Berghahn Publishers. In the editorial of Volume 8, Issue 1 the rationale behind this new collaboration has been explained.

The evolution of emphases in SQA during the past decade was an important factor in the discussion with CASS representatives. As explained in Social Quality, From Theory to Indicators, SQA now extends beyond analyses of processes in a range of policy areas seen as aspects of societal complexities (first field) and of related processes in urban contexts (second field). It has added analyses oriented on the development or destruction of sustainable daily circumstances (third field).

The reciprocity between these three fields will determine the development or breaking down over the overall sustainability. In this way a more global point of view has been introduced in theorizing social quality and its approach. This not only strengthened the expansion of social quality work to other continents, but also significantly expanded and completed the subjects of social quality work.

Project 2018

Expert Meeting about the most pressing challenge of the SQT and SQA

In September 2018 CASS hosted, with editors of the International Journal of Social Quality and Chinese and international scholars, a social quality expert meeting in Beijing. The goals of this meeting were twofold. The first concerned the start of a new debate about the meaning and application of social quality indicators, which should be relevant for all three fields. This concerns the development of the third wave of social quality indicators. The first wave took place between 2001-2006 in fourteen member states of the European Union. The second was between 2007-2014 in Southeast Asia and Australia (see Working Papers nr 13 about the history of SQA). Because CASS is starting with yearly surveys about the ‘Social Quality Situation of China’  it is important to reach a new consensus about the nature and rationale of the social quality indicators.

In other words, between 2003 and 2020 a manifold of empirical research concerning the application of social quality indicators to the changing nature of the conditional factors happened in European countries, Asian countries and Australia. New plans are in the making for the continuation of this type of empirical research. All of this implied a huge amount of investments by universities, national governments and regional operating funds. What remained underdeveloped is the reflection about these multiness of empirical research. What are the similarities, what are the differences, what do they mean for the current theoretical and practical meaning of the social quality indicators and what has to be changed or enhanced? Such an instrument, working on global level, is missing. This was the first expert-meeting dedicated to the question how to fill this hole in the current SQT and SQA.  It concerns the most important actual challenged of the theory and is application or approach.

The second goal of the CASS conference concerned the content and functioning of the International Journal of Social Quality. With regard the functioning, thanks to the support of CASS, the editors hope to be better enabled to give new input to the development of the SQA, in order to contribute to ideas and practices how to cope with the most relevant societal challenges in connection with the most pressing ecological questions

Project 2020

New Steps for Understanding the Meaning of the BRICS Platform for the Quality of Global Development

China plays an important role in the BRICS-platform, composed by representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa  This is explained in the social quality oriented study by the Institute of Political, Economic and Social Research in Rome, namely Eurispes (see ‘Project: Understanding Politics of BRICS-platform’). As an result of this study the question is intriguing how to take on board with CASS and the IASQ the outcomes of this study in order – with support from the BRICS’ think tanks of this platform – to analyze from the perspective of SQT and the SQA these outcomes. After all, it is clear that the question of the ‘quality of global development’ as main target of BRICS disposes of a lot of affinity with the ‘quality of daily circumstances as ‘main target of social quality scholars.

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