Social and Individual Development
Coordination: Dieter Ferring
Involved disciplines: Economics, Social Work, Educational Sciences, Psychology, Sociology.
Research within the domain of social and individual development covers crucial questions on social, economic, ecological and cultural development within Luxembourg, Europe and the international context. Especially, members of INSIDE are dedicated to this main research area. Founded in 2010 this research domain is part of the University of Luxembourg’s main focus areas on scientific research in social sciences and humanities.
Demographic, economic, and social change
Due to extended life expectancy and a continuing reduced birth rate, Europe will have to face challenges and demands within the next 20 years that are unprecedented in its history. Extrapolations by Eurostat predict that there will be a dramatic increase of the “old old” people (above 80) within the next 15 years, while the proportion of persons within an active age between 15 to 65 years will decrease. Extrapolations for Luxembourg predict that the ratio between active and inactive persons will overbalance in 2030 as well and this will have eminent consequences for social security and all public expenditures (see STATEC ).
Changing family structures
The family structures have changed, new family forms appeared and especially single households have significantly increased during the last decades. All this will challenge most European societies with respect to sustainability of public finances, prosperity and living standards as well as social cohesion and peace. These effects are reinforced by economic globalisation as a further dynamic that affects all societies.
Social change represents a further complex of factors and processes inducing and describing changes of contemporary society.
Some few examples:
- Educational and work life training have significantly changed during the last three decades; there is no longer a standardised biography implying a sequence of normative culturally-shared events;
- Traditional family and religious values are challenged by demographic changes and associated challenges to family solidarity and support; social policy models and underlying ideologies (such as the welfare state) are questioned.
- Migration processes and the dynamics of acculturation represent a further area of change processes that confront society with the need for the integration of new impulses on the one side while maintaining national characteristics and identity on the other side.
- The organisation and regulation of society as well as cultural and individual beliefs and values are thus in a constant process of adapting to demographic and social changes.