Inequalities, happiness and societal wellbeing. Addressing Societal Change By Focusing on Public Perceptions
During the last years a vague sense of dissatisfaction with society is spreading in many countries. Impressions of societal malaise are mainly common among the so-called losers of modernity but also the middle classes of society seem to face more constraints in societal well-being. Certain expressions of societal pessimism can be characterized by fears of societal descent, feelings of anomie and decreasing levels of political and personal trust. It is obvious that those restrictions concerning quality of life are also mainly responsible for the rise of populist parties and ethnic prejudice in many societies.
It is necessary to theoretically derive new concepts of quality of society taking these impressions of societal decline adequately into account. In this proposed session we search for innovative approaches to measure and evaluate new cleavages in societal embeddedness and societal belonging in a comparative perspective. We especially aim for empirical studies which highlight changes in societal wellbeing over the course of the last years and which try to monitor societal change by focusing on attitudinal data concerning societal functioning (e.g. operationalizing value polarizations, aspects of social cohesion or satisfaction and trust with institutions or with society in general). Quantitative researchers trying to analyze the causes of societal pessimism, especially dealing with multifaceted characteristics of subjective crises perceptions or focusing on consequences of those impressions of societal pessimism within single case studies or in a cross-national or cross-cultural perspective are highly welcome to submit their contributions.