Suffering - Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Social suffering, according to Arthur Kleinman and others, describes "collective and individual human suffering associated with life conditions shaped by powerful social forces." Such suffering is an increasing concern in medical anthropology, ethnography, mass media analysis, and Holocaust studies, says Iain Wilkinson, who is developing a sociology of suffering.

The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a work by the Union of International Associations. Its main databases are about world problems (56,564 profiles), global strategies and solutions (32,547 profiles), human values (3,257 profiles), and human development (4,817 profiles). It states that "the most fundamental entry common to the core parts is that of pain (or suffering)" and "common to the core parts is the learning dimension of new understanding or insight in response to suffering."

Ralph G.H. Siu, an American author, urged in 1988 the "creation of a new and vigorous academic discipline, called panetics, to be devoted to the study of the infliction of suffering." The International Society for Panetics was founded in 1991 to study and develop ways to reduce the infliction of human suffering by individuals acting through professions, corporations, governments, and other social groups.

In economics, the following notions relate not only to the matters suggested by their positive appellations, but to the matter of suffering as well: Well-being or Quality of life, Welfare economics, Happiness economics, Gross National Happiness, Genuine Progress Indicator.

In law, "Pain and suffering" is a legal term that refers to the mental anguish or physical pain endured by a plaintiff as a result of injury for which the plaintiff seeks redress.

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