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Handbook of Quality of Life and Social Change

Individual and Collective Paths

  • Book
  • Jul 2024
  • Latest edition


  • Looks at change vis-à-vis the material and non-material components of quality of life across contexts
  • Represents a vast diversity in authorship as well as region
  • Includes combined access to online course materials

Part of the book series: International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life (IHQL)

Buy print copy

About this book

This handbook provides an extensive overview of the links between quality of life and social change as pursued in not only humanitarian and development work, but also in the private sector and academia. It combines theoretical and practice-focused chapters and addresses socio-economic, environmental, and political/governance aspects as well as communication and human behavioural factors that favour or hamper social change dynamics. The handbook showcases vast diversity both in the authorship---which includes practitioners from a wide range of sectors and academics from various disciplines---as well in geographical contexts and regions. The chapters cover a wide range methods and tools, which facilitate an inclusive understanding of the relationship between quality of life and social change. They show connections between micro (individual) changes and the dynamics that derive from them at the meso (community), macro (country) and meta levels (planet) of quality of life, and the social change processes sustained through time. The chapters demonstrate that quality of life and social change mutually condition and nurture each other. The handbook overall provides a holistic perspective to social change processes that includes both material and non-material aspects relating to quality of life. 

This comprehensive and one-of-a-kind volume is of interest to a wide readership, from students and researchers of social development, quality of life and wellbeing research, to development workers, policy makers and other government officials.  

The handbook is bundled with an interactive online course.


  • Empowerment
  • Resilience
  • Community cohesiveness
  • Empowerment through design
  • Faith-based institutions
  • Humanitarian action
  • Holistic social protection
  • Universal access
  • GigaMe
  • Revamping the United Nations
  • Shaping leadership


This is a handbook for a committed practitioner interested in connecting with the like-minded. The chapters present a varied collection of learnings from actors working on social change across the globe and in many sectors. Reading it feels like having a conversation with a good friend and mentor, happy to share what they know in the hope it will contribute to the greater good.


Marielle Sander

Representative United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)



This timely handbook explores strategies for creating positive societal change and improving well-being. Now, more than ever, we need effective strategies to promote social innovation and impact.  In this volume, distinguished authors address fundamental social issues like healthcare, education, sustainability, and economic justice, and provide research-backed insights on empowering marginalized groups and raising standards of living.  Readers will beinspired to advance social change for real and lasting impact.


Sara S. Bachman, PhD

Dean, School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania




“The Handbook on Quality of Life and Social Change provides an all-encompassing framework and guide to enhance well-being in the world and intuitively shows how individual, community and national well-being are all connected and influence each other. An outstanding resource for scholars and professionals that are striving for greater happiness for a greater number of people”.


Prof. dr. Martijn J. Burger

Academic Director EHERO and Professor of Happiness Economics

Erasmus University Rotterdam and Open University of the Netherlands

President International Society Quality of Life 2022-2023




“This handbook creatively collects an interdisciplinary group of experts to share their common focus on promoting positive social change. It offers in-depth evidence, both conceptual and empirical, to explain these notions clearly, interestingly and simply.

Quality of life is a relevant and complex concept. It’s relevant because it addresses many different dimensions of individual, collective and planetary aspects of life. It’s complex because its diverse dimensions interact synergistically, with positive and negative results affecting all of us. This thought-provoking handbook will stay with us for a long time.”


Alberto Minujin, Executive Director, Senior Fellow. Equity for Children
Graduate Program of International Affairs, The New School

Editors and Affiliations

  • Global POZE Network, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

    Cornelia C. Walther

About the editor

Dr Cornelia C. Walther combines praxis and research. As a humanitarian practitioner, she worked for two decades with UNICEF and the World Food Program in large scale emergencies in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As a senior lecturer, coach and researcher, Cornelia collaborates with various universities, including the Center for humanitarian leadership at Deakins University (Australia), Fachhochschule Münster (Germany), University of Palermo (Argentina) and Aix-Marseille’s Law faculty (France). She is presently a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Ai and Analytics Initiative (WAIAI) and the Wharton initiative for Neuroscience (WiN); and an affiliate of the Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics (CSNBD), as well as MindCORE. Cornelia holds a doctorate in Law and is a certified yoga and meditation teacher. In 2017 she initiated the POZE dynamic (Perspective – Optimization – Zeal – Exposure) in Haiti, which has since grown into a global network of likeminded thinkers and doers around the world. The focus of her work is on the interplay of social transformation and individual transformation, including the exploration of methodologies that influences people towards wanting to get involved in inclusive social change processes. Since 2021 she works primarily on prosocial Artificial intelligence (AI) and the potential of  technology to bring out the best in people and planet. Recent books include ‘‘Development, humanitarian action and social welfare’; ‘Humanitarian work, social change and human behavior’; ‘Connection in times of Covid’, ‘Technology, Behavior and Social Change’ and Leadership for Social Change and Development. [Macmillan Palgrave/Springer, New York]. In her endeavours POZE represents the dynamic that joins the aspiration for change with pragmatic action. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Handbook of Quality of Life and Social Change

  • Book Subtitle: Individual and Collective Paths

  • Editors: Cornelia C. Walther

  • Series Title: International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-39506-2Due: 23 July 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-39507-9Due: 23 July 2024

  • Series ISSN: 2468-7227

  • Series E-ISSN: 2468-7235

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XI, 452

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

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