Beyond the Narrative of Decline

The attack on Charlie Hebdo
The unrest in Eastern Ukraine
The caliphate of Islamic State...
Reason enough for a pessimistic view of the world and our society?

Our society is in a downward spiral of decline. This feeling is clearly evident among the 2,000 young adults who were interviewed for this book. In his book, "Beyond the Narrative of Decline", sociologist Mark Elchardus analyses this widespread and persistent feeling, the belief that our prosperity and wellbeing are disappearing, that everything of value is being lost.

But, luckily, it's not all doom and gloom. Quite the opposite, in fact. When it comes to their own personal dreams for the future, young adults are extremely positive. The book describes their lives, their concerns and their dreams. It points to a new society with new opportunities. And yet... This generation is anxious. These young adults are overwhelmed by the decline in society and feel powerless to do anything about it.

Please note, however, that this book is not an exercise in pessimism; it's an unashamed plea for and precursor to a policy of hope, engagement and progress. As always, beyond the decline is the way forward.

The book is available from your local bookshop or from LannooCampus.


Theoretical background

A number of documents played a key role in the theoretical and conceptual preparations for Beyond the Narrative of Decline. Click here for an overview of these documents.

Online appendices

You can read the online technical appendices to Beyond the Narrative of Decline  here.

Background sub-reports

You can read the background sub-reports published in 2014 here.

Media and comments

Click here to find out what the press has published about the book or to submit your own comments on the book