Fifty Years After the Social Indicators Movement: Has the Promise Been Fulfilled?: An Assessment an Agenda for the Future
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. This paper reviews the origins, promise, and subsequent development of social indicators/quality-of-life/well-being conceptualizations and research since the 1960s. It then assesses the state of this field in the 2010s and identifies four key developments—the development of professional organizations that nurture its conceptual and empirical development; the widespread political, popular, and theoretical appeal of the quality-of-life (QOL) concept; a new era of the construction of composite or summary social indicators; and a recognition of the key role of the QOL concept in connecting social indicators to the study of subjective well-being—that have evolved over the past five decades and that are very much with us today. The final section of the paper poses the question of where the field should focus its energies. Beyond carrying on the existing research program, it argues that the field needs to recognize the substantial changes in the social and economic organization of contemporary societies as compared to the mid-1960s launch period for the Social Indicators Movement and develop new research foci for the years to come.
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