Cultural change and societal wellbeing

The European Union is currently struggling with economic and social insecurities and processes of destabilization within the EU should be adequately considered in contemporary research on cultural change in European societies.  Since several years phenomena such as EU-scepticism (e.g. Leconte, 2010), precarization of employment relations (e.g. Castel & Dörre, 2009), political disenchantment (e.g. Arzheimer, 2002) and country-specific deficiencies of social cohesion (e.g. Putnam, 2001) reflect the state of the art in sociological research and are highlighted in empirical studies. These contemporary challenges of social integration in the EU go hand in hand with future pessimism, perceptions of a lack of societal functioning as well as fears of societal descent and affect more and more the middle classes of society. Therefore it is necessary to develop new concepts of quality of society taking the crises perceptions of the citizens precisely into account. In the habilitation project of Wolfgang Aschauer (see research projects), a multidimensional operationalization of societal wellbeing based on the data of the European Social Survey 2006 und 2012 was designed and further evaluated using the method of structural equation modelling. Based on the habilitation project it is planned to further develop Europe-wide comparisons of societal wellbeing and to analyse primarily consequences of a growing societal malaise. The next research steps will concentrate on regional dynamics within Europe (with the implementation of path models) and will try to explore which societal groups are particularly susceptible to various crises perceptions.