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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Life expectancy disparities between population groups have been increasing
At age 40, Finns, Swedes, and Norwegians have reached the approximate mid-point of life. It is well known that, on average, whether an individual has more or...12.10.2015 | Read more
The east-west divide in the life expectancy of German women is being replaced by a patchwork quilt. The Ruhr region and Saarland are falling behind. Economic development is an increasingly important factor.
Twenty-five years after reunification, the once considerable differences between life expectancy in eastern and western Germany have almost disappeared for...22.09.2015 | Read more
What makes someone better at switching between different tasks? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive flexibility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Germany's Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim and Charité University Medicine Berlin have used brain scans to shed new light on this question.
By studying networks of activity in the brain's frontal cortex, a region associated with control over thoughts and actions, the researchers have shown that the...02.09.2015 | Read more
Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population researchers.
People over age 50 are scoring increasingly better on tests of cognitive function, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. At the same...01.09.2015 | Read more
From the Earth System to the human brain, from families to Facebook – complex networks can be found everywhere around us. Describing the structure of socio-economic systems, the analysis of complex networks can improve our understanding of interactions and transformations within our society.
A team of researchers now used this approach to explore the development of large coalitions in a network of acquaintances, when cooperation promises the...25.08.2015 | Read more
Do people from the upper social classes engage in less prosocial behavior than their lower social class counterparts? For example, do upper class people donate a smaller portion of their income to charity, and are they generally less helpful?
Previous psychological studies have actually found that because lower social class individuals are in difficult circumstances themselves, they are more...10.08.2015 | Read more
Couples who perceive a drop in happiness in the first year after they became parents, have a lower probability of having a second child. A study by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, has shown that the larger the loss in well-being, the smaller the probability of a second baby. The effect is especially strong for mothers and fathers who are well educated and older.
The investigation deals with a taboo subject. It is rarely discussed that parents often experience a considerable loss of happiness after the birth of a first...05.08.2015 | Read more
If you have a map, you can know where you are without knowing which way you are facing. If you have a compass, you can know which way you're facing without knowing where you are. Animals from ants to mice to humans use both kinds of information to reorient themselves in familiar places, but how they determine this information from environmental cues is not well understood.
In a new study in mice, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that these systems work independently. A cue that unambiguously provided both...22.05.2015 | Read more
Stereotypes related to gender and appearance that burden women in the real world could follow them into virtual ones, according to researchers.
In a study of how people interacted with avatars in an online game, women received less help from fellow players than men when they operated an unattractive...05.05.2015 | Read more
Legs apart, chest thrust forward, shoulders back: these “power poses” are supposed to influence hormone production and willingness to take on risk in accordance with a study that attained global attention. Scientists from the University of Zurich, however, found no support for these assumptions in a large study. “Power poses” do not influence behavior, but they might allow someone to feel more secure.
Hands pressed to the hips or perhaps leaning back with arms crossed behind the head are typical poses of power. Referred to power poses or high status gestures...01.04.2015 | Read more
Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".
Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...
New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices
Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...
Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class
In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...
Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.
Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....
Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.
Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...
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