Examining the concept of quality of life, the book looks at its relevance to social policy, especially in relation to class, gender, health and cultural diversity. The book explores subjective and objective individual well-being and family, community and social life. "Quality of Life" is related to other contemporary concepts such as social capital, social inclusion and health inequality and set in an international and global perspective. It draws on a range of disciplines to bring a sense of wholeness to a subject which has many disparate elements and which has been treated in the past in fragmentary ways. Overall, it provides the student with a powerful overview of a concept, which is becoming increasingly prominent in the social sciences. "Quality of Life" is a central theme in the study and practice of social policy, but there is very little on the subject written from a social policy perspective. Addressing issues that are dealt with in most mainstream social policy modules the book covers: poverty, social exclusion, health and social divisions and is a welcome addition to the current literature.
CONTENTS Chapter 1: Introduction and overview A first view of quality of life The book Chapter 2: Quality of life and the individual Happiness, life satisfaction, subjective well-being From subjective well-being to quality of life Models of quality of life Conclusions Chapter 3: Health-related quality of life The health-related quality of life of individuals The health-related quality of life of communities Conclusions Chapter 4: The social context -- utility, needs, prudential values and capabilities Happiness and utilitarianism Prudential values Needs Doyal and Gough's theory of human need (THN) Capabilities Summary and conclusions Chapter 5: Poverty and wealth, inclusion and exclusion -- social processes and social outcomes Poverty and quality of life Social exclusion Poverty, social exclusion and quality of life Chapter 6: Communities and quality of life -- social capital and social cohesion Social capital and social cohesion -- overview From social capital to social cohesion: a stepped aggregation Bringing social cohesion and social exclusion together Chapter 7: Societal quality of life constructs Overarching quality of life constructs Bernard's democratic dialectic Berger-Schmitt and Noll's overarching quality of life construct Social quality Conclusions Chapter 8: Healthy societies -- quality and quantity of life Hancock's public health model Healthy communities -- a case study Why are some societies more healthy than others? Chapter 9: Conclusions Resume and identification of cross-cutting themes Major themes: from the individual to the societal Principles of quality of life Appendix Bibliography