Social Sustainability: A Conceptualisation and Application to Long-term Care Policies

Activity: Talk or presentationScience to science


Sustainability deals with current practices and its implications for future generations. Fiscal sustainability as one pillar of the sustainability concept is frequently used in social policy analysis and respective considerations are strongly shaping social policy-making. Another core element of the sustainability concept, namely social sustainability, is still rarely used, and if so mostly as a buzzword without giving it much substance. The objective of this article is to (a) conceptualise social sustainability for social policy analysis, and more specifically for care related policies, and to (b) apply selected elements of social sustainability in an exemplary way to a discussion of long-term care policies in Europe. The article undertakes a review of the social sustainability literature to identify the key elements of social sustainability for social policy analysis. With a view to care policies, this analysis identifies needs coverage, work (as the activity to fulfil needs) and equity (with a view to opportunities and distributional outcomes) as three main elements of the social sustainability concept. This framework is then applied to long-term care policies in Europe. Recent developments and new challenges create risks for needs coverage, for care work and for equity considerations. If sustainability is taken seriously, policy analysis and policy making need a better understanding of social sustainability so that the power of the fiscal sustainability focus in policy analysis and policy-making does not overrun social sustainability concerns.
Period1 Sept 20163 Sept 2016
Event titleAnnual ESPAnet Conference 2016: Re-inventing the Welfare State?
Event typeUnknown
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 509012 Social policy