Project: 2012 – 2020
Book publication: 2012

Developing the Theory of Social Quality

Since the publication of Social Quality: From Theory to Indicators, the third book on social quality by the International Association on Social Quality in 2012, empirical research for  understanding the nature an change of the conditional factors in South-East Asia, Australia, and Europe is boomed. It is also stimulated by many international oriented conferences in Southeast Asia, expert meetings in Australia and Europe (see Working Paper 13). This resulted into an initiative for a global oriented dialogue of the Institute for Economics and Forecast of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. This invitation stimulated  EU scholars to reflect again on the rationale and nature of the contemporary SQA.

It was again concluded that a main aim of the SQA is to contribute to scientific strategies with which to go beyond the deep rooted disciplinary fragmentation seen all over the world. This fragmentation prevents a comprehensive understanding of people’s continuously changing daily circumstances. This fragmentation stimulates and feeds also an ideological created disdain for people who live in precarious conditions. People, who are powerless against the increasing economic-financial disparity and  with regard to the crumbling of conditional factors, which will threaten the social quality of their daily circumstances.

Expanding the frame of reference

At the same time, a manifold of theoretical oriented studies and outcomes of empirical research  concerning the application of social quality indicators in the International Journal of Social Quality – next to the production of new books on social quality – explained the need for enhancing the theory. This led in fact to making explicit the frames of references, which play a role in the social quality theory and herewith related empirical research. A new distinction is coming into view between at least five frames of reference: the ‘conceptual’, the ‘analytical’, the ‘procedural’, the ‘policy’, and the ‘normative’ framework.  The work done in the recent past delivers a multitude of arguments for sharpening the rationale, nature and heuristic meaning of these five now explicit frameworks. In this, the SQA differs from other approaches in especially the Western world, such as the ‘quality of life’, ‘social capital’, ‘capability approach, ‘human development’, and ‘human security.’ See also Elaboration of Social Quality Theory and Its Approach. 

Work in progress

The most recent outcomes of the herewith related theoretical work are published in Working Paper nr. 17, presented at the end of 2019. It should be appreciated as a compilation of hypotheses of aspects of the SQA. In the social quality oriented project ‘Strengthening capacities of vulnerable people’ referred is to the challenge to judge the outcomes of this project in also theoretically sense. This Working Paper can be applied as an instrument for this purpose. It can cause a change of some aspects of  that project and the operationalization of these changes in this project can stimulate again a further elaboration of the theory.  For example, mentioned is in this project the lack of a real attention for the constitutional factors of social quality and the one-side attention for the conditional factors. This demands for a theoretical answer as well and, possibly, a change of the content of Working Paper nr. 17 afterwards.

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