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World Suffering and Quality of Life

  • Book
  • © 2015


  • This book is the first book tackling the topic of world suffering
  • Uses quantitative and qualitative empirical methods
  • Applies its findings on suffering to ethical perspectives, such as compassion
  • Views suffering as a broad, serious phenomenon that can be alleviated

Part of the book series: Social Indicators Research Series (SINS, volume 56)

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About this book

This is the first book tackling the topic of world suffering. It compiles in one place the ideas, perspectives, and findings of researchers from around the world who pioneered research-based understanding of human suffering. Some chapters use the paradigm of ‘quality of life’ to explore ways to enhance knowledge on suffering.  Other chapters show how concepts and knowledge from suffering research can benefit studies on quality of life.

By bringing together in one volume, ideas and research experience from the best minds and leading researchers in the fields of pain, suffering, poverty, deprivation, disability and quality of life (including well-being and happiness), this volume advances social science solutions to a number of major threads of research, most notably suffering. As a whole, the volume advances the fields of suffering and deprivation by suggesting a working typology of suffering and by pointing out the major paradigms for relief of suffering, such as humanitarianism, human rights, caring, and healing. This volume provides a wealth of insights about the interaction between suffering and quality of life, the most up-to-date characterization of worldwide suffering, and a grasp of the implications of these data for local and global policy on health and social well-being.

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Table of contents (32 chapters)

  1. World Suffering: A Challenge to Humanity, Humanitarianism and Human Rights

  2. Professional and Informal Caregiving

  3. Quality of Life: Global, Community, and Personal


"'World Suffering and Quality of Life' is an excellent example of the kind of comprehensive and interdisciplinary scholarship urgently needed in the study of human suffering as a top priority of social scientific research. Highly recommended!" (Prof. Lilie ChouliarakiLondon School of Economics and Political Science)

"This is a truly original book. Different essays from a variety of first rate scholars come together to provide a new ethical and social science vantage point for the understanding of the world around us--and ours." (Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Sociology, Emeritus Faculty of Sociology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

    Ronald E. Anderson

About the editor

Ronald (Ron) E. Anderson is emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota. His legacy includes seven books, over 100 articles, 150 presentations at professional meetings, 15 large research grants, and at least 40 consulting positions. Most of his work has related to technology applications or impact and he was the first Chair of the ASA microcomputer group that later changed its name to CITASA. In 2009, he established the Foundation for Compassionate Societies, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, its principle mission being to foster compassion around the world and to maintain the website For two decades, he coordinated research on information technology in K-12 education in over 25 countries. Dr. Anderson, as the United States National Research Coordinator for the IEA Computers in Education study, secured a large grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct that assessment in 1992. With Henry Becker, he received funding for the "Teaching, Learning and Computing" which included a nationwide survey of K-12 schools and teachers in 1998. Professor Anderson served on the International Steering Committee for the IEA computer and technology studies from 1990 to 2007, co-chairing it for half that time. Dr. Anderson was invited to give numerous presentations on national as well as international aspects of these international technology studies. Many of these presentations were to the National Academy of Sciences Board on Com

parative International Studies in Education. He and three colleagues compiled a landmark compendium of technology policy and practices for 37 leading countries: Plomp, T., Anderson, R. E., Law, N., and Quale, A., Editors, Cross-National Information and Communication Technology – Policies and Practices in Education. Greenwich, CT, USA: Information Age Publishing, 2009 (Revised 2nd edition). In addition, he was co-author with Hans Pelgrum of the book coming out of the IEA SITES Module 1 study entitled ICT and the Emerging Paradigm for Life Long Learning: A Worldwide Educational Assessment of Infrastructure, Goals and Practices. (Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, 2001). Since retiring from the University of Minnesota in 2005, he published several articles on gender and technology in encyclopedias and handbooks. In 2012, he published two articles, one on the development of a microsimulation model to study college student retention and the other, a study of the network structure of websites devoted to caring, compassion, and disaster relief. Since 2009, he has given numerous lectures and presentations on measuring worldwide compassion and suffering and on the nature of world suffering.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: World Suffering and Quality of Life

  • Editors: Ronald E. Anderson

  • Series Title: Social Indicators Research Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Dordrecht

  • eBook Packages: Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature B.V. 2015

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-94-017-9669-9Published: 05 March 2015

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-94-024-0164-6Published: 09 October 2016

  • eBook ISBN: 978-94-017-9670-5Published: 04 February 2015

  • Series ISSN: 1387-6570

  • Series E-ISSN: 2215-0099

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXVII, 439

  • Number of Illustrations: 17 b/w illustrations, 11 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Quality of Life Research, Ethics, Social Policy, Quality of Life Research

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