Why soeb?

In science, politics and society the awareness that Germany is in transformation is widespread. Normally this transformation is attributed to major trends in society: such as globalisation, the change to a service or knowledge-based society, informatisation, individualisation. As these trends are occurring on a global scale and over long periods of time, their explanatory value is limited. They are managed differently in different societies. Moreover, such diagnoses usually observe individual aspects of social change separately.

The research network on socioeconomic reporting sees the development of the last decades as a transformation of the German production and social model:, i.e. the interplay of economy and society, the different producer’s of welfare and the institutions, does not any longer follow the pattern typical for the social development of the ‘old’ Federal Republic. Economy and way of life are simultaneously changing, each in its own way.

Society as a whole, like an individual household, has to reconcile economic motives, individual needs and aims in life. That’s why socioeconomic reporting perceives and analyses society as a socioeconomic development context. It asks questions such as: How does a changed working environment affect the possibilities to reconcile family and employment? What’s required from future educational, labour market and social policies in the light of growing international competition, and what consequences will that have for the welfare and security of society?

Society in transformation has become more diverse: Formative standards shaping employment relationships, work hours, family and biography are joined by new ways of work and life. This increase in variety can open up new possibilities, but it can also lead to growing inequality and the exclusion of minority groups unable to participate in this new diversity. Which of these applies can only be answered, if the changes within the economy and of life styles are analysed separately and within their nexus.

Reporting means analysing society in its development. Assuming the existence of a fundamental change has consequences for the concept of monitoring: Socioeconomic reporting cannot simply extrapolate familiar assumptions concerning dependencies and effects between economy and life styles.