Quality of Life, Social Quality and Societal Sustainability: A Diagrammatic Multi-Dimensional, Multi-Level Framework

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Richard PIEPER, University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Finland
Marja VAARAMA, University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Finland
In recent years, a diversity of theoretical approaches and models of quality of life (QoL), social quality (SocQ) and societal sustainability have been proposed focusing on different aspects and levels each employing own concepts. There is a need for a meta-framework which is itself theory-grounded, but does not claim to be a “grand theory” of the entire research field. Needed is a framework linking different approaches, facilitating communication between disciplines, indicating issues for a more comprehensive theory and further research, and providing a general model for more specific applications in design, planning and technology. This presentation proposes (first steps toward) such a meta-framework and chooses a diagrammatic strategy for conceptual modelling and visualization.

Besides references to theoretical discussions, the analysis will focus on approaches and visual material used by participants of the 15th Annual Conference of the International Society of Quality-of-Life Studies 2017.

First, the multi-dimensional, multi-level conceptual framework is introduced. In a comparative perspective, different theoretical approaches are considered (including psychology, environmental psychology, capability approach, rational choice, social choice and social action, networks and systems, cultural anthropology, social philosophy).

Second, key elements are re-framed in diagrammatic models using (not exclusively) diagrams presented at the conference as starting points. The aim is to externalize and visualize underlying concepts and propositions (not info-graphs). The methodology is based on the emerging discipline of diagrammatology with roots in the pragmatism of Charles S. Peirce.

Third, the relevance and feasibility of the strategy is demonstrated by application to an on-going research project PROMEQ. It develops multi-level interventions (individual-community services- social policy) for the promotion of welfare and health of four vulnerable groups (young NEETs), older multi-users of care, long-term unemployed, immigrants). The groups are understood as “paradigmatic” cases for a comprehensive strategy for more equity and societal sustainability.