Book Review: Social Quality Theory: A New Perspective on Social Development by Ka Lin and Peter Herrmann.

AuthorWang, Xun
PositionBook review

Lin, Ka, and Peter Herrmann, eds. Social Quality Theory: A New Perspective on Social Development. New York: Berghahn Books, 2015. viii + 206 pages. Paperback, $39.95.

Social Quality is defined as the extent to which people are able to participate in social relationships under conditions which enhance their well-being, capacity and individual potential. Social Quality Theory: A New Perspective on Social Development brings together eleven previously published articles on Social Quality Theory from two important journals devoted to Social Quality studies. The main purpose of this collective is to systematically explore the assumptions, perceptions, and methodology of Social Quality Theory. In addition, this volume explores the historical development and current status of Social Quality Theory and its applicability.

The editors, Lin and Herrmann--both professors working in the area of social policy and social quality--have organized the book into two parts. The first part of the book focuses on theoretical discussions of Social Quality Theory. Fairweather et al. (Chapter 1) reconceptualize Social Quality Theory by examining the four main components of social quality: social-economic security, social inclusion, social cohesion, and social empowerment. Masen and Walker (Chapter 2) outline a list of ninety-five indicators of social quality in eighteen domains and forty-nine sub-domains. By doing so, they clearly identify the key variables to social quality analysis. Walker (Chapter 3) provides an interesting overview of the relationship between social quality and welfare sustainability. Lin (Chapter 4) analyzes the prototype of Social Quality Theory by examining four conditional factors and four approaches of social quality studies. Hermann (Chapter 5) discusses indicators of social quality by examining the 'Stiglizt, Sen and Fitoussi Report.' Finally, Gasper (Chapter 6) reveals the theoretical grounds of the social quality approach by comparing Social Quality Theory with the Human Development Approach and the Human Security Approach.

The second part of the book deals with research on individual countries. Hacking (Chapter 7) introduces the four components of social quality from a British perspective. Therborn and Therborn (Chapter 8) describe the status of social quality in Sweden. Hiroi (Chapter 9) extends Social Quality Theory into the Asian/Developmental context by presenting visions of the sustainable welfare society. Bobkov, Verdyuk and...

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