Humanitarian Expertise As A Tool For Creating The Image Of Well-Being Future


The article considers the importance of humanitarian expertise in assessing innovations and projects in social technologies. It states the basis for defining the criteria of the assessment that identify whether the innovations are centred at a man’s well-being and his development as the agent of social-cultural and social interactions. The aim of the article is to specify and to give scientific credence to the humanitarian expertise of technological and social innovations revealing their direction at the well-being and the development of a person as the agent of cultural work and social interactions. The methodology of the approach implemented here is based on the logic of event. It helps to conceptualize the future in its balance with the present and, in particular, to apply the differential rendering of modality of the eventual in the notions of logically possible, actualizable, admissible and probable. The outcome of the work proves the idea that while specifying the criteria it is important to base them on the principle of optimum which can be expressed in terms of safety, well-being, identity and development. The aspect of well-being reflects the optimum in the balance of material-spiritual in a man’s reality and in this respect it can serve as one of the most important criteria of humanitarian expertise. The authors emphasize the challenges of the innovations in the field of human reality alteration that are manifested in the posthuman discourse and in the modern theories of educational system reforming

Keywords: Humanitarian expertiseanticipationassessmentwell-beingcriteriaoptimum balance


The twenty first century can be identified with confidence as the century of the continuous innovations. But can we identify the new as it is with the best as it is? The innovations cannot be regarded as the absolute value. On the contrary, they should be valued from the point of view of some higher and more fundamental criteria. The idea that all the new is inherently better than the old one contains a logic-axiological mistake. The vectors of innovations, as they are always more than one, should be estimated. Innovations – both economic and technological – and moreover, the innovations in the field of culture creating practices, require to be estimated in the aspect of the changes which, being implemented, will influence the system as a whole, the definite society and the man as it is. Moreover, the modern society needs outrunning innovation estimation and revealing the vectors of the most possible changes before they have undergone a full implementation. Many processes of modern life show that a rapid stream of innovations, those titanic energies and opportunities they bring, are failed to be taken under a full control by the society. The problem of humanitarian expertise has become urgent nowadays. There have appeared many articles devoted to it. Having no possibility to review all of the most important ones, it is necessary to mention the works devoted to the philosophical problems of the meaning and the sense of the activity (Tulchinsky, 2005, 2006; Lankin, 2012), as well as the practical aspects of the of the criteria and expertise making (Kellman & Garrigan, 2009; Harre, Bossomaier, & Snyder, 2011). The argumentation of the humanitarian assessment is touched upon in the works discussing the challenges that are brought to the humanity by the radical innovation ideas and practices (Fukuyama, 2002; Moiseeva & Lankin, Kondratieva, 2012; Shaw, 2016).

Problem Statement

The problem context of the theme of the research can be connected with the high rate of timeliness and at the same time the difficulty that the anticipation of the future presents, especially in the conditions of the continuous growth of innovations that are either being implemented or on the stage of projects and strategies being stated. To what extent can we predict the future and how accurate the prediction will be? We cannot predict without giving the impact assessment of the actions, but the assessment cannot be objective without the system of criteria being proved. This eminently relates to assessment and anticipating the innovations and plans from the humanitarian point of view i.e. on the basis of distinguishing the actor of social relations and the agent of cultural creation from the meaningful essence for human’s existence and development. In such a case, anticipation and projecting are two highly developed fields today, whereas the problem of the criteria of humanitarian expertise remains, mostly, the function of a common sense and the flexible thing of subjective manipulations. The contradiction lies in the fact that though there is the practice described in the terms of the humanitarian expertise, in fact there are no precise, objective and systematic criteria to describe such a practice. At best, the questions of the kind are the subject of an open discussion. The criteria that lie in the basis of such an expertise are of the crucial importance. This is a multifaceted methodological problem that, being solved, proves the ends and means of the expertise as it is.

Discussing the subject, we face a number of challenges. Some of them are the choice of the subject of the expertise, the purpose of its implementation and thus the aim of it. It is possible to view a new phenomenon from different angles or even from many angles at once, considering one of them to be the major, and the other one to be the minor concern. Then the result may be quite different. This depends, as a rule, on the interests of the subjects of estimation. This circumstance in real life devaluates any result of an expertise as one generally valid. The problem of the agent of the assessment is being acute as the modern globalizing world undergoes the transformation of the institutional structure and the social-technological basis of subjectness. Particularly, we can trace the dysfunction growth of the public power as the agent of politics and management with the growing hyper function of economic factors that imply the manipulation while imposing the assessment of the growth and transformation of social reality. But for all that, the main challenge is the scientific and philosophical approval of the assessment criteria: it comprises the question of the implacability of this or that criterion, the question of overcoming the subjectivism while developing these criteria.

Research Questions

The problem can be represented as a set of questions. How to prove, with the high rate of objectivity, the aspects of humanitarian value of social and cultural innovations? What are the criteria of the assessment of this kind and what is the particular basis for them? What is the basis for distinguishing the characteristics of the depicted changes? How to prove their admissibility, inadmissibility, riskiness or optimality? What is the role of material and spiritual (or, in other words, actual-real and practical-perspective) factors of human existence in specifying the criteria of innovation assessment from the humanitarian point of view? How to calculate the optimal balance of these factors?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to substantiate and define the criteria of humanitarian expertise for technological and social innovations, with their aiming at well-being and development of a man as the agent of culture creation and social interactions.

Research Methods

Within the framework of the article the issue of the expertise is, first of all, the issue of the method. It is possible to be reviewed only in the field of the discourse of methodology. The main tools of the methodological discourse used in this article are:

1.Coordination of theoretical approaches in revealing the key features of analysis and the basic foundation for the notion generalization on the principles of specificity (attributiveness) of the characteristics described and the degree of integrity of the theory;

2.Comprehensive approach in working with multidimensional and heterogeneous phenomena that are the events of human reality.

Notably, a man is heterogeneous. On the one hand, he is a material creature that depends on the material conditions and adjusts to them; on the other hand, he is a creative, dreaming, anticipating, reinterpreting and resolving creature. Thus, not only the factors of material benefits and creative abilities but the aspects of technology and culture have different genesis. But they are in close collaboration.

3.Here we introduce the methodological criterion of the system harmony which can be expressed through the characteristics of the optimum and the balance.

The aspect of well-being reflects the characteristic of the optimum in the coordinate of gaining the material benefits not for the purpose of vital surviving or wealth – the former and the latter would be the indicators of the extremum – but in the aim of human identity and development.

4.Another important logical tool that bears methodological importance is the differentiated treatment of the modality of the eventual.

If we talk about the image of the future that is the substance that is always not here, that represents only the possibility, we should take into consideration the different facets of correlation of the eventual and the actual – that are the aspects of the possible, the permissible, the actualizable and etc. They all directly concern the definition of the aspects and criteria of the humanitarian expertise of innovations.

The arguments of the methodological discourse in regard with the problem of the humanitarian expertise are as follows:

The humanitarian basis can take neither social theory as it is, nor the economic, political communicative or culture theories as its foundation. All these aspects are only the derived projections and connected contexts; the basis is the anthropological theory. Humanitarian expertise is not equal to the social expertise either according to the criteria and direction, or according to the system status. We consider a man to be the metasystem in respect of the society system: the essence and the nature of a man is the primary substance, whereas the sociality is only the secondary one. It serves as the system of people’s collaboration. There is definitely the backwash effect: the people’s abilities and the needs change according to the ways of their communication and interaction. But this factor should not shade the principal basic dependence: communication and society are created by people and for people, and this is the primary substance; people become the agents of social functions, and this is the secondary substance. The phenomenon of a man brings the sense to the society: this is the people’s society though there appear important system effects and new formations of over-human character. These new formations and effects cannot alter those things that can be altered only by a man. A society, as it is, cannot think experience or formulate a meaning. “Public conscience” is a descriptive concept. It has its meaning only because the society as a system bears the man’s conscious. But the essence of this phenomenon is the essence of communication between the men’s “consciousnesses”.

It is possible to prove the criteria of humanitarian expertise if we stand on the solid ground of the anthropological theory. It helps to avoid the subjectivity and prevents from singling out the separate aspects of the human’s and becomes the display of a real systematicity.

How to build the axis for such a multifaceted system as a man or human activities? If there are many dimensions of the reality, there are many axes as well. What should be considered in the phenomenon of a man to be the basic, central, own, original and pivotal substance, and what is a peripheral, probably an imported or “about a human” substance? What is the human itself and what are the “human circumstances”?

A man is a materialistic creature that exists and develops on the basis of physical, biochemical, psychophysiological essence as well as on the basis of natural factors of interaction that are to be expressed in the terms of social system. At the same time a man is a spiritual creature able to live by the anticipations of the future. The future will never have a material expression. What is more, living by the anticipations of the future – by the aims, dreams, values, plans, projects – is more important for a man in the majority of cases than the life given by the past set conditions or present day circumstances. It is very important that the spiritual basis that is the projecting the images and vectors of a possible future are not equal to the definitions of conditions and circumstances. People’s ideas about a better future are not narrowed down to implementing the set needs and current stimuli though the projective spiritual basis correlates with the set conditions and circumstances. On the one hand, the man’s spirit is the body of rethinking of the human’s existence. The existence of such a body distinguishes a man from the nature itself and explains the historical progress of humanity. On the other hand, the man’s spirit must have an optimum environment for its activity.

In many cases the word “humanitarian” regarding this or that urgent situation or life processes, is used as the characteristic of a threat to the man’s life or the quality of life in the materialistic sense. The criterion of survival marks the extreme line for a human existence. The aspect of wealth, as long as the aspect of rethinking (in its drastic innovatory style), the aspect of assertiveness (on the contrary, that does not bear any inner renovation) – all these aspects are bearing the marks of extreme conditions that might be a man’s strives. The system occurs to be a harmonious one when it gets the points or zones of optimum but not the maximums in the strives. The notion of optimum contains the criterial principle. Assessing the optimum that is not equal to maximum, we overcome the unilateralism of the logic of maximization. It is replaced by the multilateralism of the logic of balance. The balance itself acts as the factor and the tool of harmonizing the complex heterogeneous systems.

The methodological basis for the arguments mentioned above may serve the logic of event which, contrary to the metaphysics of being, allows viewing the aspects of appearance and vanishing, the aspect of new formation born from the coordination and mutual entity of the facets of being. The logic of event is the ontology of the appearing being. It, as it seems, allows conceptualizing the future more adequately, as well as its relations with the present. Taking that into consideration, it is possible to use the differentiated rendering of the modality of the eventual. The eventual is

1.Logically possible (in its sense identical to all possible – everything that does not contradict the laws of logic and that expresses the aspects of imagination as the mental environment for goal setting);

2.Something actualizable. Here the possible future coordinates with the existing conditions. This second variant falls into 2a. admissible and 2b. probable.

The admissible is the concept that expresses the subjective conditions of the possible i.e. the value-based definitions of the activity. It is possible to say that the conditions of the admissible play the main role in our future practice organization. The probable implies a sound assessment of the objective conditions and circumstances of the implementability of the possible. The aspect of the cognition of real, where the possible can be implemented, is the main problematic field.


Basing on what has been said in the previous part about the logics of balance and finding the optimum in the interaction of heterogeneous tendencies, it is possible to distinguish the following markers of the humanitarian criteria. Under the humanitarian criteria we understand the characteristics that are to be achieved so that the human existence is not threaten the by the collapse or degradation but it gains the system axes of sustainability and progress. These aspects are: safety, well-being, identity, and development. One can notice that the aspects are identified on the basis of the categorical order reflecting the mutual reinforcement of the aspects of the humanitarian optimum. The first two aspects reflect the status of material factors of human existence, precisely, the real and latest factors. These factors are the current conditions and they require the permanent scaffolding and the conditions that enhance the growth and effective functioning of the system of human activity. Safety allows a man to keep himself and his way of life as the basic material basis of his activity.

Well-being is understood as the means of getting resources necessary for accomplishment of the tasks and activities. The idea is not to obtain as much sources as possible in the most suitable order, but to gain resources provision of the definite man’s goals. On the other hand, we mean not only the constant encouraging of the activity but the possibility to reach the goals, to implement the plans and the dreams.

The notion of well-being is not limited either by the minimum of the vital material benefits, minimal income or the extremum of the maximum of material benefits. It does not include the maximization of the benefits gained; this notion is reflected in the idea of “wealth”. It implies the wellness in the humanitarian sense i.e. the provision of the industrious development of a man.

The former two aspects reflect the man’s existing in the spiritual dimension. Here identity reflects the self-sameness of the man’s conscience as the condition of his authenticity and self-assertiveness. To be the subject of the activity a man must base on his identity. It might be a traditional identity and a new self-identity. It must not disintegrate while being outer transformed. This is important. The outer influence on the man’s identity hurts the man’s personality and infringes the man’s freedom. That is why the identity is an essential criterion of the humanitarian values. The forms of outer transformation may be different, for example, the indoctrination of new identity, the propaganda of new identity (as a variant of indoctrination), the new identity that inside in itself implies the outer-incorporated active non-human factor, for example: a man-adept of the idea of post-human is ready to self-identify as a cyborg. These are the forms of outer influence on the man’s identity.

Development is a necessary part of human agenty and it expresses our orientation to future, our creative ability. Losing the dimension of the future being acquired, the man loses the completeness of existence. This factor can be narrowed to the creativity. The aspect of authentic subjectness is also very important here. Can a man develop while entertaining or playing a game? We should differentiate here: playing a game is the way a child joins the reality and it is his immediate development as the boundary between the reality and a play is vague. The play is the part of the reality, the one of the most intensive and creative parts. For a grown-up gamer a game is a fascinating simulation, distinguished by a high rate of involvement but it keeps the person’s creativity in the frames created by the programme. Psychological involvement camouflages the absence of creativity. Many phenomena of modern information environment that might be generalized under the term of “infotainment” do not pass the test of the humanitarian expertise in the term of development. The corresponding technologies become risky from the point of view of the system anthropology and the logic of the optimum balance of the factors of human existence.

Let us comment upon the aspect of identity taken as the mark of the humanitarian expertise criteria. The shift in modern humanitaristics is treated from the point of view of the new understanding of an identity: an identity as a project. Viewing a man as potency seems to be the way to legitimize his vanishing: if a man is seen as a project of the possible, than the on-growing of the all-possible-omnifarious wipes off the character of the project, and then, dissolves the quality of the man. There appears a kind of “empty” projectivity, to be more precise, the ultimately dispersed projectivity that turns out to be a “post-human”. Can this “formation” be considered as an entity?

The debates about the “posthuman” outgrow the scope of technological fields and become more philosophical ones (Cox, 2016; Cuadrado& Angel, 2016; Baker, 2016 and others), but this speculation about the “improved” people as a new species, about a “man – designing” bears the logical sense that the alteration itself can become the main valuable criteria of changes. Some authors directly appoint at the necessity to approve the absolute and out of being criteria – the criteria of freedom and its implementation (Tulchinsky,2005).Some modern views on the “posthuman” can be regarded as a phantasy rather than firmly argumentative scientific works. But this speculation about the improved people as a new species, about a “person” being designed can have that logical sense that the changing itself can be the main criterion of the improvement. Some authors insist on the necessity to “recognize the absolute and out of existence criterion i.e. the freedom and the conditions of its implementation”. And then the idea that “everything, that a human conscious can imagine, can be implemented to this or that extent” comes true. As we can see, there is not any criterion of assessment or parameters of expertise that can be applicable here. The criterion here is the omnifarious as the extremum of projective freedom.

To make a “posthuman” out of a man is inhuman not only because the qualities of the “posthuman” can fall behind the man’s qualities, as they do not complement the man’s qualities but lead to their degradation. What is more, it implies the demolition of the identity. Suppose, we manage to escape these extremums of destruction. The essence that stops or refuses to be itself loses the ability to judge itself adequately and the system of “axis” according to which it is possible to make the assessment. Here comes the importance of the principle of specificity that can serve as the basis for a human identity to be shaped. The principle in action implies that the man itself is, first of all, the specifically-human in himself. All the rest that is included or connected with him are the generalized “human qualities” or, to be more precise, the “human circumstances”. So, this is something para-human, though it is important in regard with the conditions and factors of human existence. The “human circumstances” undergo various changes that may be characterized both by the index of strengthening (advancement) and the index of weakening (degradation). These changes are the perfection scale applicable if the core of the specifically-human does not decay or lose its axis centration. The system development is characterized by ontological succession, sustainability, and axiological self-commensurability. To apply the humanitarian expertise to the project of a posthuman essence is inappropriate. But from the point of view of these criteria the possibility of such an essence is inappropriate. The criterion of a human identity rejects it principally.

The humanitarian approach assumes that a man, being defined, is more perfect than a posthuman, and is higher and is more preferable to be a goal. The posthuman might have been designed to improve and enhance the man’s qualities, and the posthuman possesses many useful qualities the man does not have. According to our logics of identity and specificity of a human reality, all trans-human projects are appropriate for the sake to compensate something not-human-enough. These are not the drawbacks of a human nature as it is, but the defects or distortion typical for people. The posthuman cannot excel the human by means of replacing the specific, sense-making entirety by something else that can serve as a goal.

We should assume that the subconscious-vital in a man is the important and inherent quality but “human circumstances” in comparison with the specific core – the human consciousness, - with the human emotional experience as a unique structure that cannot be brought to the qualities of unconscious. Only such a criterial step allows filtering the trends of a man’s falling in the vital conditions that allows influencing him directly by a technological manner, as onto a natural essence. It will allow filtering the technologies that influence a person on the level of subconscious skipping the conscious. A man as the knowledge keeper can become a sum of social and cultural technologies. If this happens, the system of humanitarian expertise must turn the alarm on.

Another important evidence for humanitarian criteria is the human’s ability to develop as an agent. It is closely connected with the criteria of constructivity and finding the optimum in the balance of logics.

Innovation shifts bring about the risks of pressing of the natural and social environment due to the acquisition of new unprecedented technological opportunities. They create the risks of atrophy of the essential human abilities involving a person into technologies where the person is not a subject but a modified essence. The technology plays the main role; it is able to change the vector of goals, deflect the axis of the motives that can lead to the degradation, turning over or explosion of the whole system.

Although, the system can expand and developing harmoniously without dangerous fluctuation. In this regard the reflection is necessary. This is the role of the expertise of the humanitarian changes. In its basis, it may not have the correlation of the new with the settled sample or the correlation with something uncertain, changeable as a mirage; the image of a person’s dream; nor can it be the unpredictable and vague freedom of his goals. It has the analysis of the aftermaths in the aspect of the balance of the system – the system of a man’s overcoming the simple naturalness of his being. This expertise analyses and assesses the changes in a man’s own abilities, how his sense-designing abilities change and the level of his goal constructivity. The parameters of the expertise must note the growth\reduction rate of man’s as an agent ability and characterize the level of the constructivity of the goals arising in a man as a result of innovation implementation. The direct influence on the goal alteration is given by the social technologies, cultural development novelties, economics actual trends, reforms in educational system. The indirect influences are the technological innovations, as they change the man and society’s abilities configuration as a whole.

The innovations in the system of education play an important role here. What are the educational trends that need the application of these development criteria? We will focus on one tendency only. This is the trend of shifting (replacing) the educational goals from that of the development of the abilities to comprehend and reflect the reality onto the development of the ability to adjust to various situations that the reality brings. The man comprehensive – the classical education ideal – is replaced by the man adjustable. The paradigm of knowledge (meanings) priority over the skills is changed into the paradigm of the priority of the skills over the knowledge that is now the constituents of the skills (competences). The transition of the organizational system of the content of education from the structure of disciplines to the structure of competences is the mark of the interchange of the system of knowledge (that is introduced in the structure of disciplines) to the system of skills that is expressed in the structure of competences. At the same time this is the tendency of the decomposition of a person as the whole object and the aim of the education. It corresponds directly to the modern life events that arecharacterised with the notions “a man of modules” and “the stream of situations”.The direct expression of this tendency is the modern module system of education (and the competence approach that corresponds to it). A man does not integrate into the social organism as a man of the modules; he is formed as a man of the modules. To decompose a man into parts hoping that these parts will be reassembled on the social level as something whole is a destructive task if viewed from the point of view of the humanitarian expertise. The education in this paradigm disavows the mission of the value and aims axis coordination hoping that it will self-coordinate, being equipped with the skills of human freedom. The trend of competences approach as it is seen now on the social process background and in the context of which it is developing, seems to be rather a risky one. Being assessed with the criterion of the comprehensive development of a person as an agent, it fails in comparison with the classical humanitarian paradigm aimed at the ability to formulate goals; the ability that becomes the main cultural factor. The main mission of education is in the development of this ability.

It is important to pay attention to the balance-optimum aspects. Here we mean the balance between the technological and cultural factors of human reality alteration, the balance in resource (material) and goal-setting (spiritual) factors of human existence, as well as the proportion in the social and personal systems of identification and human existence apprehension. Every record of comparison bears the collision: the growth of one member of the relation can lead to the degradation of the other. The optimum here meansthe measure of strengthening and influence growth of the parties when neither of the parties experiences the degradation.

For example: the social system should not strengthen to that extent to depress the abilities of a man as an agent. The striving for resource maximizing, the resource most effective usage (or, as an individual case of the same logic of effectiveness) to the maximum of comfort, should not lead to the aims and values degradation or to replacing the logic of lofty aims by the logic of benefits accumulation. The system of technology as the way of man’s behaviour and social processes management should not replace the system of culture as the way of human activity organizing by appealing to the man’s mind. We draw you attention to the fact that the equipment and the technology are the factors and the results of an active adaptive process; the process of a man’s activity system and nature adjustment. The nature is being explored by the man in this way, whereas the naturalness reconsideration i.e. supernatural values acquisition and production is the domain of culture. Equipment and technology are responsible for the means; culture is the sphere of goals formulating.

Another relation is of great methodological character here: Is a Man the creator of culture or, in the first place, he is its product? If a man primarily, is the product of culture and only partially is a creator, than the man is managed by such structures that are not he himself. If a man is primarily the creator of his sensual world which reflects the complex of all relatively senseless things then the man remains the “measure of all things”. The approach we choose determines the way we view these tendency: the social; technologic growth opposed to culture development as the experience of comprehension; the manipulation growth as opposed to human conscious appealing and revealing the real human interests. From one point of view, they may seem as pathology, from the other one, they may be treated as normal or even desirable vectors of human and society development. But a man is the synthesis of them. Thus the optimum balance here is more than necessary.

Dealing with the definition of the optimal balance in material (almost always resources) aspects and spiritual (perspective –projective and potential) aspects, we note that technologies in the way we use them are the material factors. They are represented through the material objects and relations. The equipment, devices and the manipulations with them are functionally related and aimed at the material environment adjustment. This is despite the fact the technologies appear as the result of art bearing spiritual character. Culture appeals, mainly, to the human spirit: to our understanding of perspectives, values, possibilities and goals of overcoming the simple naturalness of existence. This is true that culture uses enormous array of materially expressed means for its purposes.

Optimum in this case is better expressed through the notion of well-being. It can modify the logics of resource and effectiveness maximizing into the logic of ends-and-means correlation. The well-being appears as the economic criteria regarding the relation society- person; and as the balance in relation technology-culture. The aspect of well-being reflects the optimum in the relation of material and spiritual basis of human reality and it may serve as one of the main criteria of humanitarian expertise.


Developing clear-cut and objectively proved criteria of humanitarian expertise of innovations and projects is not only an acute challenge of the modern practice of assessing of man-measured level of dynamic processes of society and technologies development. This is the imperative urgency for a man of the future who will face larger scale innovations influencing the field of human activity as well as the field of the goal setting. The re-instalment of the development goals is the marker of the modern stage of culture and society development that is named a crisis. The goals re-instalment, moreover, the values of the man as the agent of the activity is a very responsible action. It cannot be fulfilled with the energy of the modernizers’ enthusiasm. It should base on the deep and exact understanding of a human, human activity i.e. on the developed anthropological theory and on the definite ways and methods of this theory implementation to the goal setting and projecting activity. The approaches and the principles of criteria revealed in the article can play their role in the humanitarian discourse advancement and in the systematization of the factors that are to be considered as the assessment criteria.


These authors would like to thank National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University for the chance to participate in this useful scientific and research forum.


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16 April 2018

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Cite this article as:

Lankin, V., Kokarevich, M., & Lysunets, T. (2018). Humanitarian Expertise As A Tool For Creating The Image Of Well-Being Future. In F. Casati, G. А. Barysheva, & W. Krieger (Eds.), Lifelong Wellbeing in the World - WELLSO 2017, vol 38. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 294-304). Future Academy.