1. 1 1. Well-being and the quality of life in ageing societies – theoretical and empirical challenges
  2. 2 2. Using subjective wellbeing and quality of life indicators in public policy: a Latin American perspective
  3. 3 3. Environment, consumption & sustainability: cross-disciplinary perspectives
  4. 4 4. Social and Geopolitical Changes in XXI Century
  5. 5 5. Assessing the rule of social relations
  6. 6 6. Inequality and Well­being: Methodological Considerations and Comparative Perspectives
  7. 7 7. Social beliefs and subjective well-being in post-transitional societies
  8. 8 8. Precarious Prosperity and Quality of Life
  9. 9 9. Changes in work and employment: New directions in the sociology of work
  10. 10 10. Social policy as a tool for sustainable development
  11. 11 11. European societies: changes in social values and social relations
  12. 12 12. Impact of international migration on societies and quality of life
  13. 13 13. Local development: experiences and challenges
  14. 14 14. Gender equality and quality of life
  15. 15 15. Sustainable level of living in contemporary world
  16. 16 16. Healthy lifestyles and well-being
  17. 17 17. Teaching Social Sciences in a Changing University Landscape
  18. 18 18. Child Well-Being: Levels and Correlates
  19. 19 19. Quality of life in Romania
  20. 20 20. Vicinities, communities and societies. New trends and old pathways in social sciences
  21. 21 21. Answers of the social economy to current challenges on the labour market
  22. 22 22. Strategies to improve school attendance
  23. 23 23. Faces of resilience: from local view to global issues
  24. 24 24. Integrating subjective and objective measures of utility in rational choice theory
  25. 25 25. Young people in changing social landscapes
  26. 26 26. Submission without specific section

1. Well-being and the quality of life in ageing societies – theoretical and empirical challenges

Beatrice Chromková Manea,, Office for Population Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University in Brno
Ladislav Rabušic,, Office for Population Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University in Brno

Very low levels of fertility and the ageing of societies have been regarded as one of the most important population challenges of the 21st century. The increasing life expectancy corroborated with a sharp drop in fertility has significantly changed the demographic structure of population in many post-modern societies. Consequently, pre-retirement and retirement period, as well as health, quality of life, and well-being issues have been taking a more significant position within both academic and policy-making debate. The reducing support offered by the social welfare state system accompanied by continuous adjustments in personal values, preferences, attitudes and norms accommodated by post-modern societies have been shaping the most striking population phenomena during the last 25 years. Last period has seen an increasing academic and policy interest in the topic of well-being and quality of life across different disciplines thanks to the population developments, contested operationalization and multifaceted approach.
It is important to monitor for levels of well-being and quality of life indicators in order to identify those population groups that require intervention. Health status and quality of life imply a multi-dimensional measurement of various indicators varying from objective to subjective approaches, from uni- to multi-dimensional conceptualization. Analysing well-being and quality of life can help quantify and compare the various impacts on well-being and quality of life of different aspects such as values, attitudes, cultural context, policy measures or economic indicators.
The focus of this section is on the theoretical, empirical, policy and ethical issues involved in wellbeing and quality of life research. For example: How can we assess the well-being and quality of life? How does well-being relate to quality of life? How do attitudes, values, norms shape well-being and quality of life of population? What are the patterns of well-being and quality of life across Europe? Where are well-being and quality of life inequalities critical? What differentiates people with low and high well-being and quality of life? Are there any differences in time? How can be the multilevel/multi-disciplinary approach appropriate in this area of research?
We are seeking contributions that address both theoretical and/or empirical issues of well-being and quality of life. We are interested in cross-national perspective studies and seek contributions from a variety of countries. Comparative studies are welcome, but research focusing on one particular country is also within the aim of this section. The longitudinal aspect of the research on well-being and quality of life is highly welcomed too.

2. Using subjective wellbeing and quality of life indicators in public policy: a Latin American perspective

David Gómez Álvarez,, Gobierno de Jalisco, ITESO

The Latin American region, particularly Brazil and Mexico, is facing a security crisis. Crime indicators have increased or kept stable, but perception is rising rapidly. Different governmental and citizen organizations are measuring (through surveys and other methods) subjective wellbeing and quality of life indicators, but this critical data is not being used in decision-making or policy-making.
Therefore, the purpose of this section is to discuss both theoretical implications of using subjective data in policy analysis and empirical cases in the region in a comparative perspective. This panel would allow theorists and practitioners to come together within the context of a productive and applied dialogue.

3. Environment, consumption & sustainability: cross-disciplinary perspectives

Filip Alexandrescu,, University Ca’Foscari, Venice
Laura Nistor,, Sapientia University, Cluj-Napoca

Almost one hundred years ago, Robert E. Park wrote that the new “science” that he and Roderick McKenzie had introduced in sociology under the name of human ecology, had compelled “everyone [to start talking] about the ‘ecological aspect’ of everything” (Park 1926). The same might be said nowadays about the related terms “green”, “environmental” or “sustainable”. There seems to be a general expectation that every human activity, be it production or consumption of goods or services, is in some way green or sustainable. In the business administration and related literatures, sustainability has become a key term that is synonymous with “good practice”: organizations and individuals can hardly afford to be seen as being involved in activities that are deemed “unsustainable”. Below this veneer of social desirability, however, the reality of green and sustainable social practices is far more complex and challenging for contemporary societies. It is for this reason that sociologists have discovered in the study of environmental sustainability a rich vein of both theoretical and analytical exploration over the last two or three decades.
There is, however, a second reason for which sociologists have found the study and environment – society relationships compelling for their discipline. Once heralded as the golden standard of scientificity, (natural) science has undergone a profound change in its relation to society (Gross 2005). Variously called “post-normal”, “post academic” or “Mode 2” science, the new scientific outlook has become ever more tightly knitted into the social fabric as research is carried out increasingly “outside the walls of the laboratory” (Behrens and Gross 2010). Pure objectivity has been replaced by concerns for social robustness and acceptability, and these changes are certainly of interest to sociologists. Social change has become coextensive with scientific, technological and environmental change, and this process has opened previously unrecognized research opportunities for sociologists. The contemporary European research agenda has been one of the areas that have fostered the cross-fertilization of natural and social scientific approaches in tackling complex social challenges.
The present session aims to bring together researchers interested in exploring these opportunities and to present their findings in this cutting-edge cross-disciplinary research area. We welcome contributions dealing with environmental change or environmental values, consumption, sustainability as well as with social scientific approaches to scientific research.

4. Social and Geopolitical Changes in XXI Century

Veronica Dumitrașcu,, Institute of Sociology, Romanian Academy

Social and geopolitical changes generated by demographic challenges, the struggle for resources, technological progress, but also the relationship between political and social actors affect groups and entire populations. Developments in the economic, technological and social sphere have opened new opportunities and have led to the development of relations between states, but have also generated systemic crisis. Economic crises that shacked the world have led to a reversal of the axis and the emergence of social movements. Protest movements are a reaction to system imbalances. Consequently, the so-called "movements of rage" in terms of Kennet Jowitt (1992) appear. They are new social movements that have become an important source for political change in recent years. Social movements are catalysts for the social changes and they can show the evolution of societies in time. They involve different socio-political processes and phenomena on a large scale and reflect system trends, but also its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. In this sense, they are an indicator of the systemic balance. Taking into account the new challenges of the international environment, there is a need of a greater inclination for the study of various factors that generate tensions at economic, societal, and geopolitical level. Which are the factors that engage the new social movements, which are the trends and challenges of the new international environment, which are the vulnerabilities of the international system and what are the games of the actors on the geopolitical stage are some of the questions that we’ll try to answer in our section. In this respect, we expect empirical and theoretical studies that address social change, social movements, social conflict issues, but also topics related to geopolitics, international relations, security studies.

5. Assessing the rule of social relations

Silviu G. Totelecan,, Romanian Academy – Cluj-Napoca
Adrian T. Sîrbu,, Romanian Academy – Cluj-Napoca
Cristian I. Pop,, Romanian Academy – Cluj-Napoca

Analyzing social relations in a diachronic manner will inevitable depict their twofold features: the static/structural dimensions and the dynamic/performative ones. Of course, their aptitude in structuring the social reality works hand-in-hand with the inner ability of social relations to unravel themselves; moreover, the persistence of social relations cannot survive without their capability to reinvent themselves. Social relations, with variations and specificities in their (re)developments, are carried through the modern social history, but our focus here will be on the transformative processes emerged after ’89 (e.g. EU accession, the economic crises etc.). We are suggesting and also inviting you to reflect at different possible frames that may be useful to be taken into account in the comprehension of social relations: 1) the interaction between local and general/macro determinants; 2) the engagement in various global/trans-national meta-narratives (e.g. capitalistic, socio-democratic, consumerist, eco-green etc.); 3) the real-virtual dialectic that emerges from the impact of new ways and means of social (media) communication. This approach should certainly entail a reflection upon the toughness/weakness of social fabric confronting a range of aggressions that questioned its endurance; and also if the power of the social as such, in contradistinction to that of the economical and political realms, can assert itself in a different way than through irreducible “energies” characterizing precisely the nature of the social relations. We have to ask ourselves if the social relations create public/collective goods or are rather concerned to generate and represent the vested, shared interests of particular socio-cultural networks such as groups, guilds, cliques, milieus, etc. Are there any pre-eminence of particular interests that can act and manipulate social relations in their own private benefits?

6. Inequality and Well­being: Methodological Considerations and Comparative Perspectives

Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow,, Cross­national Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (CONSIRT), USA and Poland, and the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Malgorzata Mikucka,, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium and the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, Higher School of Economics, Russia
Francesco Sarracino,, STATEC, Luxembourg; GESIS, Germany and the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, Higher School of Economics, Russia

Historically, material progress has been regarded as a way to improve people’s lives. Not by chance has the quality of life significantly improved over the last two centuries, i.e. in the period when modern economic systems developed, income settled as a proxy of well­being, and economic growth became the way to pursue better lives. However, a growing body of literature shows the importance of non­monetary determinants of quality of life, among them various forms of inequality. For example, recent literature suggests that income and gender inequality in a country negatively correlate with life satisfaction, and growing income inequality influences a decline in subjective well­being. This session seeks empirical works ­­ quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods ­­ that offer methodological considerations and comparative perspectives on the relationship between inequality and well­being. We are interested in inequality of various kinds, including economic, political, gender, ethnic, and the like, observed both at macro and micro­levels. We define well­being broadly, to include both subjective and objective measures, as well as happiness, life satisfaction, and health.

7. Social beliefs and subjective well-being in post-transitional societies

Magdalena Żemojtel-Piotrowska,, UG, Poland
Jarosław Piotrowski,, USSH, Poznań Faculty, Poland

The aim of this section is to present works on relationship between social beliefs (values, materialism, entitlement, belief in life as a zero-sum game) and subjective well-being. In the section we present how different values, beliefs and attitudes influences subjective well-being in post-transitional context. Generally, post-transitional societies are found to manifest lower level of subjective well-being in comparison to European countries without communist past. However, the another cultural difference could be found also in relationship between self-enhancement values, external aspirations and subjective well-being. There are a lot of studies presenting the relationship between subjective wellbeing and social beliefs in countries without communist past, however, it is highly possible to detect significant differences in the pattern and strength of these relationships in post-communist countries.

8. Precarious Prosperity and Quality of Life

Monica Budowski,, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Sebastian Schief,, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

The current global situation characterized by economic strain brings about feelings of uncertainty, vulnerability and deprivation. Within the field of largely debated social inequalities, recent empirical research highlights a socio-economic position often overlooked, namely that of households struggling to maintain their socio-economic position adjacent or slightly above a relative poverty threshold. This position often referred to as “precarious prosperity” is a structural position situated in between poverty and secure material prosperity. It is characterized by a limited (yet non-poor) standard of living and (perceived) insecurity by individuals and households.
The aim of this section is to investigate the subjective quality of life of households in "precarious prosperity" or experiencing precarity. Quality of life is without any doubt a concept that has to be analysed multidimensional. Not only are there more objective indicators, such as material living standards (financial situation and income), personal activities (work, leisure, care etc.), education, health, political voice and governance, social connections and relationships and environment (housing etc.) (see Stiglitz et al. 2009) that influence quality of life but also people value these and set priorities as well as how they go about to maintain or improve them. The socio-economic situation is a key component of wellbeing and in this way plays a substantial role for the quality of life, in particular in times of crisis.
In general, multiple institutions have impact on the quality of life of individuals and households: the welfare state’s opportunities for de-commodification, the opportunities provided by the labour markets, by the households and families themselves as well as by civil society. They can ensure socio-economic security that influences people’s quality of life. Papers discussing quality of life of households and in particular those in precarious prosperity are invited to send abstracts.

9. Changes in work and employment: New directions in the sociology of work

Ana Maria Preoteasa,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Simona Ilie,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

The economic, social and technological transformations during the last decades have propelled a series of changes in relation to the profile of work and professional relationships. Structural changes in labour markets and fast-moving information have not been matched by a corresponding level of public policy responses. Vocational education, social protection systems, disposable capital and developmental strategies have encountered difficulties in terms of finding solutions and adapting to labour market transformation.
The scientific approach to employment, which focuses on different social actors´ perspectives on the labour market (employers, employees, jobless, trade unions, policymakers),has pointed to the changing expectations concerning the labour market (responsibility, commitment, personal development, adaptability, safety, resources for a good life), the large diversity of risks associated with it (obsolete qualification, over-work, precariousness, informality, exclusion) and, not least, the changing definition of work. The flexibility policies strongly encouraged in Europe during the last 15 years have led to a labour market with a high level of job diversity, thus creating many secondary issues, such as precariousness, informality and insecurity (Paugam 2000; Gallie et al. 2003; Standing 2011).
This section especially welcomes papers addressing the themes described above and is open to theoretical as well as methodological and empirical papers in the area of the sociology of work and industrial relations. The abstracts could be in English or Romanian. Depending on the abstracts received, there could be a separate panel for papers presented in English.

10. Social policy as a tool for sustainable development

Simona Maria Stănescu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Sorin Cace,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

The transition from a Keynesian welfare state to a Schumpeterian workfare regime imposes the assessment of current development stage of the social protection systems. At European Union level, the failure of Lisbon Strategy (2000) highlighted the importance of scientific substantiation of a better national strategic planning towards progress in achieving the Europe 2020 goals. With reference to the national capacity to face social responsibilities assumed as an EU member state, Romanian post-communist social policy confronted a series of dilemmas as, for example, choices between individualism and universalism or the increase of quality of life within the transition from planned to market economy.
This section invites presentations of theoretical and empirical researches focused on developments and challenges of current social policy. They should refer to the above-announced theme and may address the following topics, although they are not limited to the list below:
  • accompaniment of social policy during transition from planned to market economy;
  • research methodologies of social policies;
  • comparative research of social policies, particularly in post-communist countries;
  • the impact of EU accession on social policies, with a focus on the social institutional design and legislative framework;
  • provision of minimum income guarantee and activation of vulnerable groups;
  • concession measures of social services;
  • socially responsible public procurement;
  • policies of active inclusion and emergent vulnerabilities;
  • sustainable development and green jobs;
  • alternative employment measures especially in social economy.

11. European societies: changes in social values and social relations

Bogdan Voicu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

There is certain consensus in the literature on post-modernization to observe that individuals in nowadays societies stress more and more quality of life and focus on satisfying superior needs. The trend reflects a change in social values and in the available material resources. However, such change in social values is not a one-way road. It had been shown that, under specific circumstances values may switch to stances that are more traditional. Experience of high inflation and/or unemployment, or war, or natural disasters, are part of such experiences. Since changes in social values trigger modifications of how quality of life is imagined, to study social values becomes highly relevant for understanding quality of life.
On the other hand, embeddedness in social relations is important to define the personal universe and to shape representations and definitions of quality of life. Meeting friends, participating in voluntary actions, trusting others change the way in which personal life develops, and influence how and what one stresses as important in own life.
This section focuses on social values and social relations. They may be seen separately, or one may focus on their interplay. The intention is to create a space in which empirical research across Europe is presented. Both comparative analyses and case studies are welcome. The authors are encouraged to comment how their results may contribute to the debates surrounding quality of life. However, this last theme is not mandatory, since the aim of the section is rather to describe the environment in which quality of life evolves, with the focus on this social milieu.

12. Impact of international migration on societies and quality of life

Monica Șerban,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Bogdan Voicu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

International migration is constantly changing individuals and societies. Various mechanisms are to be active: assimilation, acculturation, transnationalism, exposure, contagion, resilience, institutionalization and persistence of early socialization are among the ones noted by existing literature. Migrants bring in their luggage values, attitudes and behaviors, which are typical to home society. Although they have the tendency to take influences from the host’s norms, immigrants are also said to influence the receiving society, particularly when they become a visible minority. On the other hand, they remit various things to the society of origin. It is not only about money and goods, but also about ways of doing, life styles, attitudes, behaviours, and social values.
Both types of influences allow societies to communicate, and change them intimately, although silently. They have immediate impact on the way in which quality of life is constructed and perceived.
This societal change due to migration is the one of interest for this section. Our intention is to have two sessions, one focusing on changes in the society of origin, the other referring to the host country. Change is the main target, but we do not impose a specific focus. However, we encourage the authors to discuss the impacts and the implications of their findings for quality of life as well.
We prefer those presentations that combine a sound conceptual construction and the empirical validation, irrespective if qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methodology is employed.

13. Local development: experiences and challenges

Claudia Petrescu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Adriana Neguț,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

In the context of recent socio-economic changes and the declining capacity of the state to provide welfare to its citizens, reforms in the public administration system, implementation of decentralisation or regionalisation policies, privatisation or service outsourcing have been considered viable solutions to overcome the impasse. By helping local government to respond in an appropriate and effective manner to the existing community needs, decentralisation doesn’t weaken the state’s authority, but rather reaffirms it. At the same time the effects of decentralisation are felt in terms of quality of public services, and thereby the quality of life of citizens. The economic crisis has strengthened once more the need for collaboration between local actors to identify new resources and development strategies/opportunities. The mobilisation of community resources that belong to different local actors, institutional or non-institutional, public or private, represents the basis of local development. Thus, it implies new forms of cooperation and coordination of local actors who, to a conceptual level, change the focus from government to governance.
Local development implied the introduction of certain social innovation elements such as participative approach of the social-economic growth process, partnership governance, the creation of new institutional structures in partnerships, the partnership between communities or the strategic planning. In local development process, social innovation often takes place at the border between state, market and civil society. An innovative solution in local development is represented by social economy, whose entities favour the endogenous local development because they rely on the empowerment of the local actors capacity to act, aim to build up capitals at the community level (social capital materialized in social relations, the increase of trust in institutions and in the other individuals; human capital– the increase of capacity of individuals by the provided services) and the mobilization of local resources in the community problems solving process.
The local development is influenced by changes at the level of local government institutions, as well as at various private or non-profit institutions that operate at local level. If changes in public institutions are mainly due to the impact of various public policies, private organisations are strongly influenced by changes of socio-economic environment or existing funding sources, and in terms of non-governmental organisations the dependence on grants is quite high. Although the allocation of funds aims at reducing regional disparities, sometimes it can contribute to deepening these gaps. Rural-urban comparison reveals important disparities: rural communities are characterised by low availability and accessibility of public services – education, health, and social care – while having a lower degree of attraction for community services private investors.
The section invites the submission of both empirical researches and theoretical papers on various local development solutions. The authors are encouraged to submit papers on topics such as models or innovative solutions in response to various issues at local level, local development challenges in various countries, especially in Eastern European countries, the influence of socio-economic and institutional context on local development solutions, public policy response to various local problems, the impact of EU accession on local development in Eastern European countries, regional disparities, sustainability of local development initiatives, analyses of the lessons learnt from past unsuccessful initiatives or examples of good practices in local development.

14. Gender equality and quality of life

Krystyna Slany,, Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Ewa Krzaklewska,, Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Marta Warat,, Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Beata Kowalska,, Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Trine Rogg Korsvik,, Oslo University

Gender equality is a diverse and contested concept. It can be seen both as a political agenda, as well as an individual project –the chosen perspective would impact the conceptualization of gender equality as well as the perceived benefits on the societal, policy and individual level. One of the settings in which gender equality can be explores is quality of life. In fact, the impact of gender equality on quality of life differs depending on the analytical approach to the gender equality measurement. The session welcomes contributions aiming at exploring gender equality effects for quality of life. It explores the diversity vision of gender equality in relation to quality of life: subjective, objective, macro or micro perspective, in different life spheres and within diverse relationships. The attention is paid to men and women’s experience of gender equality.
Studies of gender equality impact on quality of life are not conclusive – we cannot assume linear and unidirectional relation between gender equality and quality of life. While we can observe some positive correlations, the relations between gender equality and quality of life appear more complex and differ between men and women, their characteristics or social status. Therefore, to deepen and extent the discussion, the session welcomes papers investigating the question: does gender equality constitute an important factor for improving both men and women’s quality of life? How can we foster positive impact of GE on the quality of life? What are the potential and pitfalls of various frameworks of quality of life in relation to gender equality? Finally, we welcome papers investigating the gender equality and quality of life relations in different life spheres – in family, work, public sphere, as well as exploring the interlinkages between them.
The project “Gender equality and quality of life - how gender equality can contribute to development in Europe. A study of Poland and Norway” has received funding from the Polish-Norwegian Research Programme operated by the National Centre for Research and Development under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014.
For any inquiry please contact Marta Warat at

15. Sustainable level of living in contemporary world

Adina Mihăilescu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Mariana Stanciu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

This century is radically different from the previous one. The world is collectively consuming the renewable resources of 1.5 planets, according to the well-known World Wildlife Fund / Global Footprint Network Living Planet Report. Living sustainably means balancing consumption of goods and services, the new technology choices, and the increase of population, in order to live within the planet’s resources. It means maintaining a stable and healthy environment for humanity as a whole, but also for each community, and last, but not least, for biodiversity. The implications of these facts might be radical, as they regard not only the general level of living, but also consumption patterns and general economic politics. Starting from this evidence, this section is a debating space for issues focused on standard of living and quality of life.

16. Healthy lifestyles and well-being

Marian Vasile,, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, and Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Cosmina Pop,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Health is, probably, the most important resource that one has. Healthy lifestyles, or what we are doing to be in good health, are an important resource for our well-being. This section calls for papers that analyze the ways in which people eat, drink, exercise, medicate, rest etc., in order to maintain or improve their health. All these consumption patterns are context dependent. Papers that discuss the impact of changing social, cultural and political factors on healthy lifestyles are highly welcomed.
Of course, the concept „(un)healthy lifestyles” is normative: what is healthy? Some adopt a meat based diet. Others believe that meat is bad for one’s health and therefore they adopt a vegetarian diet. How something becomes „healthy”? What are the factors that shape these definitions? Critical points-of-view regarding the conceptualization of this domain are welcomed. Is the healthy lifestyles movement a new ideology and what negative effects can have on the mental or physical health of those that embrace it? What is the relationship between our options and the natural or human-made environment? Can we become healthy in the fast food society? What about ever-growing pollution? Is the option for a healthy lifestyle the path for a better world or a better world is the medium for healthy lifestyles?
Though the orientation of this section is substantial, being focused on theories of healthy lifestyles, methodological papers are welcomed to. What indicators should we use to measure healthy lifestyle? How do we combine behaviors and values, fact and attitudes? How do we validate our measures?

17. Teaching Social Sciences in a Changing University Landscape

Adrian Hatos,, University of Oradea

In the rapidly changing global and local higher education field the teaching of social sciences has come under the multiple pressures of research performance, vocationalism and budgetary constraints which are challenging the academic establishment in Romania as well as everywhere. Visions of the missions, objectives and instruments of higher education programs like social work and sociology are shattered by the increasing and sometimes contradictory demands from funders, usually the government, quality assessors, university managers and other patrons like students and their parents for increased labor market relevance, better access to competitive funding, more prestigious publications, increased student engagement, better retention rates (aka lower dropout rates) a.s.o. of their everyday academic activities. In this puzzling context, in which the professional identities of social science graduates are being redefined, we propose to discuss, focusing on evidences, the past evolutions and the prospects of teaching social sciences, with a special attention on sociology and social work at all tertiary levels, in Romania and Europe.

18. Child Well-Being: Levels and Correlates

Sergiu Băltățescu,, University of Oradea
Claudia Oșvat,, University of Oradea

This section focuses on child well-being, research field developed during the very recent decades. The development of this field was triggered by the realization that we do not know enough about the situation children live in throughout the world. Particularly lacking is the children’s perspective on their worlds. Research on children’s well-being should catch up with research with adults. It includes children’s situation, perceptions and evaluations of their different aspects of their lives, as well as their values and aspirations. Its purpose is to create awareness among children, their parents and their communities, but also among opinion leaders, decision makers, professionals and the general public. This section is mainly dedicated to the presentation of the findings from the International research project “Children's Worlds, the International Survey of Children's Well-Being (”, financed by the Jacobs Foundation. The on-going project aims to determine the levels and determinants of children’s well-being in the world. Around 50.000 children from 17 countries, including Romania, were included in the sample. The questionnaire comprises eight life domains and aspects of life: home and household members; material well-being; relationships with friends and other people; the area where they live; school; health; time management and leisure time; and self.
Apart from the members of the projects, different researchers are invited to participate in this section and to present their current research on child well-being.

19. Quality of life in Romania

Iuliana Precupețu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Currently, quality of life is at a modest level in Romania, placing this country far below most of the European Union countries, but also well below the very expectations of the Romanian population. The economic crisis during the past years introduced new challenges for an improvement in quality of life in this country. This session aims at gathering analyses on quality of life in Romania that consider key macro level factors as well as individual level factors affecting quality of life. Studies dealing with major life domains like incomes, health, education, housing, employment, family, social life and subjective wellbeing can contribute to creating a comprehensive image on quality of life in Romania. Moreover, results from research carried out at national, regional or community level can shed light on recent developments of quality of life in Romania.

20. Vicinities, communities and societies. New trends and old pathways in social sciences

Radu Baltasiu,, European Center for Ethnic Studies (Romanian Academy)

This section addresses to renown scholars in the social sciences, but also to young researchers interested in the subjects provided (BA, MA, PhD, and Postdoctoral students). Selected papers will be published in a special issue of Etnosfera journal, in the summer of 2015.
The social sciences represent one of the most dynamic scientific domains, flexible enough to permit its constant renewal concerning the theoretical framework and the methodological apparatus, due to the rapid change of the world and the phenomenon of globalisation, but conservative enough to remember that classical theories are still needed and explanatory to the shape of the world nowadays.
From a socio-cultural perspective and given the recent international events of social unrest registered in the past year in countries such as Ukraine, Bulgaria, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey, or in even more „muted” or distant places such as China, Japan and Singapore, one can observe that the citizens chose to transform themselves into crowds of demonstrators in the streets against social inequalities and political discontent. The Facebook generation is increasingly involved in the society’s road towards progress and development as they see it, offering a sign that the internet is merely a tool for a public voice and not an end in itself.
Other points on the internationally changing agenda come from the educational sector (that is more and more distant from the workforce market that produce an entire sector of victims: the unemployed younger generations), or from the shifting paradigms of how the societies should look like, how the family should be constructed, how the vicinities or communities should be recreated, and how the religion-society report should modify.
Also, new Western theories in the demographic sector show that in the future decades, Europe will change its ethnic structure, and the minorities will more and more become an important part of each state, beyond the past year situation from Syria and Eritrea, that generated hundreds of thousands of migrants that flee in order to survive. Thus, a new set of challenges lie ahead, and the communities and societies have and will develop different answers and coping mechanisms in order to preserve their structure but also move towards development and modernisation. From an economic and geopolitical standpoint, new theoretical frameworks are also needed to analyse recent events that appear in the Eastern hemisphere that is drawing more and more attention, such as the Russian advance towards Europe or the „Euromaidan” in Ukraine, the social unrest in Bulgaria, the situation in Transnistria, the elections in the Republic of Moldavia, or the effects generated by the Romanian Diaspora within the recent presidential campaign.

21. Answers of the social economy to current challenges on the labour market

Simona Maria Stănescu,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy
Ștefan Cojocaru,, „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” Iași University
Sorin Cace,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Recent year’s public interest towards social economy and social enterprises is mainly caused by its capacity to efficiently answer current labour challenges and provide a sustainable employment especially but not exclusively for vulnerable groups. Social economy principles answer common concern for both social and economic achievements in providing a decent quality of life. Growing number of jobs in social enterprises supports the consolidation of social economy’s position as an economic player alongside the state and market required by sustainable development. Besides, areas cover by social economy answer needs not enough or appropriate covered by state or market.
The section welcomes theoretical and empirical research on social economy and its role in social development. Possible themes could include:
  • research methodologies on the social economy;
  • comparative research in social economy;
  • social policy measures on the social economy;
  • social inclusion and social economy;
  • valorization of local potential in social economy entities;
  • the role of social economy in creating jobs especially for vulnerable people;
  • entrepreneurs in social economy;
  • social economy and corporate social responsibility;
  • supporting measures for small and medium enterprises.

22. Strategies to improve school attendance

Luminița Costache,, UNICEF
Ștefan Cojocaru,, „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” Iași University

The proposed section aims to coagulate presentations on improving school attendance. The idea of these sections was based on the experiences of partners involved in the Hai la Scoala! campaign, which was initiated by UNICEF and Ministry of Education. We encourage the participation of specialists from different fields who have interest in research and / or intervention to encourage school attendance. We welcome teachers, representatives of non-governmental organizations, representatives of ISJ and of CJRAE to share their experiences and models of good practice.

23. Faces of resilience: from local view to global issues

Florin Popa,, Institute of Sociology, Romanian Academy
Alex Iorga,, Institute of Ethnography, Romanian Academy
Lucian Dumitrescu,, Institute of Sociology, Romanian Academy

From a boundary concept to a buzzword, resilience subtends a large scale of disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches from psychology and ecology in the first stage of systematic studies, and economy and sociology in the second one, to sustainability vs. vulnerabilities and global issues in the recent developments. This disciplinary diversity is reflected in the myriad of theoretical and methodological solutions advanced and in the difficulty of finding a definition meant to meet a general consensus. From this perspective, our section welcomes different approaches of resilience, from theoretical and methodological analysis to empirical solutions, ranging from studies about social vulnerabilities, environmental risks, societal issues to explorations of the limits of critical infrastructure, food security etc. in the attempt to answer to some questions as „What is resilience?” with a special view on social resilience; „Resilience to what, for what, and for whom?”; „Which and what are the resilience's dimensions?” etc. From micro- to meso- and macro-levels of analysis the resilience raises another important issue related to the measurements models and necessity of building an resilience index as a probation instrument for political decisions. Laying emphasis on specificity rather than generality, resilience studies have started with the premise that creating an index of small communities’ resilience is a more suitable undertaking than forging an index of national resilience. The explanation for such an approach lies in the specific requirement to involve the locals in creating a community resilience index. From this view the comparative studies of multilevel analysis are welcome.

24. Integrating subjective and objective measures of utility in rational choice theory

Alexandra Gheondea-Eladi,, Research Institute for Quality of Life, Romanian Academy

Societies have historically evolved to accommodate personal life and work life at the same time and a political and economic struggle is still taking place to make way to a specific type of balance between work and life in all European countries. In economic terms this means that at the micro level, the pay-offs resulting from personal life need to be compared to those coming out of one's work-related life. Also, at macro level this means that monetary earnings have to be compared to some social pay-offs which are not easily commoditized and which emerge from family relations, community integration and participation, culture and so on. Such comparisons pose serious challenges to the assumptions of game theoretical models of decision-making. The purpose of this section is to explore ways to accommodate subjective and objective pay-offs into game theoretical models of decision-making.
In standard Rational Choice Theory (RCT), the pay-offs are added (weighted by the likelihood of appearance) to each other to form a criterion for decision-making (utility or value, depending upon whether the economic or the psychological perspective over game theoretical applications is used). Among the pay-offs which enter such computations are social incentives like power, satisfaction, wellbeing and many others. But, adding and multiplying such subjective payoffs and their probabilities cannot always be methodologically and theoretically justified in other ways except "simplification of the model". While such justifications are at times legitimate and absolutely necessary, a critical perspective over their use is sometimes required.
This section will consider critical contributions on the following topics (without being restricted to them):
• aggregation of subjective and objective pay-offs
• commoditization
• emotional pay-offs in RCT
• quality of life and utility
• happiness and utility
• power and utility
• social costs and benefits and utility
• aggregation methods

25. Young people in changing social landscapes

Ancuța Plăeșu,, Institute of Education Sciences

In the last two decades, youth social research has developed new theoretical lines, emphasizing mobile and flexible nature of young people’s life trajectories and individualization of social risks and vulnerabilities that they should overcome. The economic crisis in Europe has led to a shift inclusively in the sphere of explanatory models of social change, in the sense of restoring the actuality of transition paradigm in the study of social phenomena having young people as actors. As a result, in recent years, the analysis within youth studies has paid much attention to the structural conditions of young people’s lives and the associated consequences on their social inclusion.
This theoretical orientation is however counterbalanced by those emphasizing young people’s creativity, knowledge, innovation and potential to drive changes in society, looking at them as active agents or as initiators of conflicts or protests who find spaces for their self-expression.
We invite participants in this section to debate on the ways young people might respond to opportunities and manage the consequences of their choices, to examine how they reconstruct and renegotiate the constellations of challenges and risks affecting their lives. The approach of the section is broad and inclusive in terms of theoretical and methodological approach and thematic content. Its purpose is to disseminate and discuss research in the fields of sociology of youth, transdisciplinary youth studies, youth policies. We therefore welcome all papers with an interest in studying youth, regardless of discipline, and we invite abstracts from a range of research fields.

26. Submission without specific section

If author(s) cannot decide to which session to apply, they can select this section, and the proposal will be directed to the appropriate session or to a special session with miscellaneous contributions.