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Discussing society trends in the 21st century

Globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change: the new coordinates?

This section of innovations-reports examines the latest scientific findings in the fields of social sciences as it relates to globalization, demographic change and equal opportunity. Controversially discussed and thoroughly researched, we track current discussions detailed in studies, publications and announcements from renowned organizations and institutes. We address unsolved issues within key topics such as globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change, which are of paramount interest regarding their impact to society and the individual.

How will globalization occupy us in the future?

Globalization, a meanwhile overused expression, refers to the worldwide integration of economies, politics, society, culture and environment . Globalization, equal opportunity and demographic change are phenomena that mean different things to different people the world over. Some scientists view globalization as a process that began with the first species of man. Others date globalization back to the 15th century as European conquerors fanned out across the world. Still others accept it as a tide that was initiated at the beginning of World War II.

The fact is, globalization has transformed the planets into a village affecting all parts of life. The far-reaching structural transformation of overall society triggered by globalization has positive as well as negative impacts. The world continues to be divided into industrial, emerging and developing countries as globalization spreads. Globalization also means mobility and the opening up of national identities. Globalization is the sharing of common global challenges as illustrated by demographic change and equal opportunity. While some welcome globalization as economic progress, others dismiss globalization as neoliberalism.

Are we overestimating or downplaying the significance of demographic change on society?

Demographic change is the new challenge facing society. The post-World War II baby boom generation is aging and a new one is not on the horizon. In Germany, demographic change is viewed as a social, economic and cultural threat. Experts predict that demographic change will shrink Germany's population by 7 million by the middle of the century. The impact of an aging population on society is illustrated by the limits of growth. Structural transformation, redistribution, economic collapse, job exodus: demographic change and the forthcoming population declines will force societies to drastically restructure and reshape. Demographic change will also give momentum to globalization and equal opportunity.

While all of the signs so far point to "big", will demographic change acquire a new modesty? Demographic change and globalization are tightly interleaved. Calls are being made for demographic change and its already entrenched realities to be resolved at the highest level of decision making and understood as a non-partisan challenge for the present and future.

Has the equal opportunity mandate really arrived in practice?

No one accepts discrimination. Regarding the gender question, equal opportunity for minorities and abolishing discrimination based on ethnic or ideological traits, equal opportunity and the equal opportunity legislation introduced in 2006 have established benchmarks. The question is, has this already led to a well-established mindset of equal opportunity among the population? And is equal opportunity actually being practiced in business, politics and society against the backdrop of globalization?

We are reminded that if the pursuance of equal opportunity is left to those who hold the power in society, then equal opportunity for women in the workplace will make hardly any progress worth mentioning. Equal opportunity and demographic change is not a generational question. The obligations that equal opportunity will impose on all societal forces, how individuals can contribute to equal opportunity and how equal opportunity can be realized within the context of globalization and demographic change - all of these issues will continue to keep us in suspense.

Social Sciences

This area deals with the latest developments in the field of empirical and theoretical research as it relates to the structure and function of institutes and systems, their social interdependence and how such systems interact with individual behavior processes.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles related to the social sciences field including demographic developments, family and career issues, geriatric research, conflict research, generational studies and criminology research.

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Gender disparities in cognition will not diminish

Improved living conditions and less gender-restricted educational opportunities reduce the cognitive disparities between men and women or improve the gap in favor of women, according to new research by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Karolinska Institutet.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, investigated the extent to which improvements in living conditions and educational...

29.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Young researchers investigate social support in the age of globalization

Third phase of DFG Research Training Group "Transnational Social Support" successfully initiated

Over the next three years 19 additional graduates will be involved in examining a broad range of aspects related to the topic of transnational social support...

14.07.2014 | nachricht Read more

Keeping and developing the skills of older people

Educational scientists at the University of Stuttgart want to make mechanical and plant engineering “demographically sound“

How can you keep the skills and experience of older employees within a business if declining strength means that a continued employment at the original...

24.06.2014 | nachricht Read more

Consuming for friendship

Swedish children have, both from a historical perspective and in comparison to many other countries, greater access to financial resources and a higher standard of living.

However, the gap between households who are well off and those who struggle is growing. At the same time, children face a growing pressure to consume in order...

10.06.2014 | nachricht Read more

Gender inequality limits the freedom of individual life trajectories

Gender equality has not been achieved in Switzerland, although it is enshrined in the Swiss Constitution. This is all the more unfortunate because gender equality would make society more just and create economic benefits. However, gender equality cannot simply be imposed top-down: it must be supported by all members of society. This is the conclusion reached by the National Research Programme "Gender Equality" (NRP 60).

NRP 60 took a close look at gender equality in Switzerland in 21 research projects. The synthesis of the knowledge gained in the programme is now available....

27.05.2014 | nachricht Read more

Doing research to reduce poverty and global risks

The first 17 transnational research projects have started their work within the framework of the "Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development" (r4d programme). With a budget of CHF 97.6 million the r4d programme aims to foster sustainable global development.

Last year, funding decisions for three out of six research modules of the r4d programme were taken. Now, the first 17 transnational research partnerships have...

21.05.2014 | nachricht Read more

A new tool to measure the speed of aging

A physical test for measuring age shows wide differences between the rates of aging among different population groups, according to new research by demographers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

A strong handshake can say a lot about a person—it can indicate power, confidence, health, or aggression. Now scientists say that the strength of a person’s...

08.05.2014 | nachricht Read more

Psilocybin inhibits the processing of negative emotions in the brain

When emotions are processed in a negatively biased manner in the brain, an individual is at risk to develop depression. Psilocybin, the bioactive component of the Mexican magic mushroom, seems to intervene positively in the emotion-processing mechanism. Even a small amount of the natural substance attenuates the processing of negative emotions and brightens mood as shown by UZH researchers using imaging methods.

Emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and joy enable people to adjust to their environment and react flexibly to stress and strain and are vital for cognitive...

07.05.2014 | nachricht Read more

Increasing demand of social workers in China

The demand for social workers and a functioning social welfare system is on the rise in China. Within the next ten years, the country expects social workers to comprise over 1.4 million professionals. Swedish researchers from the Department of social work, University of Gothenburg, lead the way by sharing their knowledge on research methods and the academization of social work with Chinese universities.

– Social work is a relatively new phenomenon in China. Today, the country has the largest number of people in the world requiring social assistance. There is a...

06.05.2014 | nachricht Read more

Stigma: At the root of ostracism and bullying

Experts in bullying and children's mental health gather at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting to describe new research and what it means for children's mental health

Increasing evidence shows that stigma – whether due to a child's weight, sexual orientation, race, income or other attribute -- is at the root of bullying, and...

05.05.2014 | nachricht Read more
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Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mysterious molecules in space

Researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics finger silicon-capped hydrocarbons as possible source of mysterious 'diffuse interstellar bands'

Over the vast, empty reaches of interstellar space, countless small molecules tumble quietly though the cold vacuum. Forged in the fusion furnaces of ancient...

Im Focus: From Finding Nemo to minerals – what riches lie in the deep sea?

As fishing and the harvesting of metals, gas and oil have expanded deeper and deeper into the ocean, scientists are drawing attention to the services provided by the deep sea, the world’s largest environment.

“This is the time to discuss deep-sea stewardship before exploitation is too much farther underway,” says lead-author Andrew Thurber. In a review published...

Im Focus: A transistor-like amplifier for single photons

A team of scientists at MPQ achieves a twentyfold amplification of single-photon signals with the help of an ultracold quantum gas.

Data transmission over long distances usually utilizes optical techniques via glass fibres – this ensures high speed transmission combined with low power...

Im Focus: New mass map of a distant galaxy cluster is the most precise yet

Stunning new observations from Frontier Fields

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the mass within a galaxy cluster more precisely than ever before. Created using observations...

Im Focus: NIST shows ultrasonically propelled nanorods spin dizzyingly fast

Vibrate a solution of rod-shaped metal nanoparticles in water with ultrasound and they'll spin around their long axes like tiny drill bits. Why?

No one yet knows exactly. But researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have clocked their speed—and it's fast. At up to 150,000...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

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