Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Creation, Trial and interregional Comparison of a regional Sociality Index

The aim is to develop and to empirically test an indicator for the district-related survey of socio-cultural factors in form of a sociality index. This instrument shall provide systematic access to attitudes that exist in the regional context and shall reflect the individual perception of these social environments as well as the subjective assessment of the living and working conditions given there. Thus, methods for the classification and standardisation of regional subareas already applied in spatial research and policy can be supplemented usefully:

Next to the already existing socio-structural and socio-demographic indicators, also socio-cultural and socio-spatial indicators will be available in the future. These will provide information about the subjective perception of regionally diversified quality of life as well as the present forms of political and social culture.

The sub-project HAL_F_03 was deeply involved in formulating the working package “Institutional structures and public assets” of cluster 2 of the FGZ and will generate an essential output therefore.

It supplements the regional analyses forming the focus in the basic research of the FGZ Halle by developing the new analytical tool “sociality index”.

It is planned to carry out computer-aided telephone interviews (CATI) in selected urban and rural districts (selection criteria: East/West as well as structurally weak / stable regions), being representative for the population of the respective district.

In addition to preference variables, also selected socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents will be collected.

The presentation of results for the survey mid-2022 and for the macro-analysis at the end of 2023 as well as the final report in summer 2024 will be the milestones for the four-year sub-project.

Thematic Reference to Social Cohesion

For social cohesion on a normative and social-moral level it is important how the assurance or non-fulfillment of public assets such as security, fairness, confidence and sufficiency are perceived and evaluated from the individual and group-related perspective. Therefore, corresponding variables will be included in the questionnaire of the sociality index.

For social cohesion on a practical level it is important to gain empirically founded knowledge about deficiencies and potential of social cohesion and socially innovative civic commitment in regional environments and how they develop over time.

Especially rural regions and in particular those which are affected by ageing, migration and thinning of their infrastructure require valid setting data in order to develop and implement reliable strategies and programs for strengthening socio-cultural resources.

Accordingly, variables measuring the density and the evaluation of interpersonal relations, self-efficacy, emotional reference to the location, perceived affront and job (in-)security, the awareness of strengths and weaknesses of the environment (growing/stagnating/shrinking demography and economic power) as well as personal developmental assets will be included in the questionnaire of the sociality index.

Thus, the sub-project follows an empirical-analytical approach that defines social cohesion as dependent variable and provides a contextual interpretation. From a contentwise point of view, the sub-project can be assigned to the research questions 6 to 9 formulated in the full application. In many respects, the sub-project is closely related to the heuristics of the research association FGZ: It takes up configurations of social relations and practices of social behavior that generate social cohesion. On the other hand, it includes the affective dimension, such as spatial identification and levels of general and interpersonal trust. Thirdly, it also includes socio-economic factors (here: related to the familiar environment).


Principle investigator: Everhard Holtmann

Project member: Isabel Müller, Tobias Jaeck, Mandy Stobbe, Christin Schoenstedt