Concept and operationalization of social sustainability

Period: July – November 2017

Funding: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Potsdam
Project management: Prof. Dr. Michael Opielka
Publication: Michael Opielka, Social Sustainability from a Sociological Perspective, in: Sociology, Volume 45, Vol. 1, 2016, pp. 33-46; Michael Opielka, Social Sustainability. On the way to the internalization society, Munich: oekom 2017

In addition to an overview of thematization and conceptualisation of “social sustainability”, the study will show in particular in the German-speaking as well as in the international literature, to what extent primary social concepts can contribute to the extension and effectiveness enhancement of the sustainability discourse. In doing so, the relationship with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), which explicitly include social dimensions of sustainability, should also be established. These include issues such as conflict, participation, migration, family and intergenerational transfers, welfare regime, gender mainstreaming, culture, governance or common values. The work is intended to mark a broad spectrum of social innovations that are relevant to sustainability and, where possible, to be linked with an indicator system that is compatible with the SDGs. Approaches to an operational implementation of social sustainability are also to be presented.

The study was handed over to the IASS in November 2016 and published in revised form as a book at oekom in March 2017. It has been made accessible to a number of prominent figures in the field of sustainability and social policy research as well as in the corresponding policy areas. On 2 November 2017, a symposium “Social Sustainability” organized by IASS and ISÖ will be held at the IASS Potsdam on the occasion of the publication of the study.