Area II: The Welfare state, Citizenship and Social Justice

This area centers on the relationship between the state, markets and the private sphere and on the consequences different configurations in terms of human well-being and the quality of society. Topics covered include welfare state developments; the link between work and family life; citizenship and social justice; the role of political and social factors as causes and consequences of the financial crisis. Special attention is given to differential outcomes of men and women as well as different social groups. Both well-being and social progress are broadly conceived, allowing for both empirical work and normative theory, a wide range of indicators as well as analysis from both micro and macro perspectives. The research area includes two themes:

 

THEME 3: SOCIETAL CHANGE AND HUMAN WELL-BEING

This theme questions conventional approaches to well-being and social progress and develops new theoretical and methodological approaches to these issues. The central questions to be addressed are: (a) does the conventional focus on monetary measures of well-being and progress produce a skewed understanding of those issues? (b) how are well-being and progress to be understood, conceptualized and measured? c) what does taking a broader approach to well-being and social progress add to our knowledge? (d) what is the relationship between well-being and societal progress?

 

THEME 4: TRAJECTORIES OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITIES

The current global financial crisis has had an immediate impact on the quality of people’s lives and will inevitably shape the trajectories of social and economic development for years to come. This theme focuses on (a) how the Icelandic banking crisis has affected people’s values, life-styles, levels of living and well-being; (b) how the consequences of the crisis differ for different groups – with a special focus on income inequality; and (c) how the government’s policy responses mediate between the economic situation and people’s outcomes; (d) patterns of crisis consequences among Nordic and selected European nations, using comparative perspectives.