Social wellbeing and democracy

Authored by: Patricia Hogwood

The Routledge Handbook of German Politics & Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415686860
eBook ISBN: 9781315747040
Adobe ISBN: 9781317600152


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This chapter investigates the economic and cultural foundations of wellbeing in the Berlin Republic and assesses the role of objective and subjective wellbeing in social and political life. It finds that although Germany enjoys the economic prerequisites for generally high levels of individual and social wellbeing, certain individuals and groups of Germans struggle to realise their life potential, either because of material constraints or because of subjective constraints relating to social tensions and cultural perceptions. 1 These constraints include a deep-seated ‘materialist-pessimist’ cultural outlook; ongoing tensions relating to the unification of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1990; and a new public discourse of austerity arising out of government responses to an overloaded welfare system and the European financial crisis.

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