success of development projects can be compromised by assumptions of a neutral, undifferentiated community identity and expertise not shared by target populations. Bound up in this quandary are considerations of well-being: what is required to live well
Development, Well-being and Perceptions of the ‘Expert’ in Ladakh, North-West India
Youth, community life and well-being in rural areas of Siberia
Anthony Glendinning, Ol'ga Pak, and Iurii V. Popkov
The study looks at young people's situations in small communities in Siberia against a backdrop of socioeconomic and rural-urban divides in post-Soviet Russia. Focusing on the end of compulsory schooling, the study looks at the fit between young people's accounts of their circumstances, aspirations for the future and feelings about themselves, as well as implications for mental well-being. A mixed-methods approach is adopted, including preliminary fieldwork, a large-scale survey (n approximately 700) and in-depth interviews (n approximately 90). Situations and well-being in rural areas and small towns in Novosibirskaia oblast' are compared with life in the city of Novosibirsk. There is stark segmentation by locality. In small communities, the household 'copes' along with the young person in shared goals and understandings and in aspiring to get 'an education' as a means to secure employment and a 'comfortable' life beyond subsistence. Most households locally share the same situations. Almost all imagine continuing their education and leaving their home communities, dependent on family resources and networks. Horizons are limited to towns in the region, or perhaps the city, seen as a place of possibilities but also risks. Beyond the rural household, the collectivity of peers represents another key resource in negotiating and maintaining self-worth. Neither individualism nor the reach of 'global' culture is evident. Young people are embedded in the 'local', but despite their situations and poor prospects, these do not affect their sense of themselves. If anything, profiles of mental well-being and, certainly, self-worth are better in rural communities compared to the city.
Tamils' Quest for Well-Being
Moving as a Success or Failure?
Anne Sigfrid Grønseth
During a period of about 15 years, Tamil refugees have resided in the small fishing villages along the arctic coast of northern Norway. Employing an ethnographic approach that emphasizes agency and experience in everyday life, this study describes how Tamils face a lack of crucial social and religious relationships and arenas that provide recognition and meaning to their daily lives. Not being able to give voice to their social experiences, the Tamils suffer from bodily aches and pains. As part of the Tamils' search for recognition, community and quest for well-being, they have relocated to places that provide a more complete Tamil community. To assess whether the Tamils' choice of leaving the fishing villages is a success or failure is a complex matter. Exploring the intricacies of this decision, this article discusses the links between the 'narrative of suffering' and the Tamils' decision to move.
Struggling for home where home is not meant to be
A study of asylum seekers in reception centers in Norway
Anne Sigfrid Grønseth and Ragne Øwre Thorshaug
The basis for this article is an interdisciplinary research project entitled What Buildings Do (2012–2018), which aimed to document and explore the effects of physical surroundings on the well-being and quality of life of asylum seekers in Norway
A Review of A. van Bruggen's "Individual Production of Social Well-Being"
Van Bruggen’s theoretical and empirical analysis raises many questions about research on subjective well-being. I concede that this can be seen as an important merit of her contribution. I hope that this observation will contribute to her own subjective well-being, which, according to her preface, has not always been enhanced by doing research in this area. But then such is the common fate of those who are engaged in research.
Contact with Nature as Essential to the Human Experience
Reflections on Pandemic Confinement
Alan E. Kazdin and Pablo Vidal-González
. 2019 ; Frumkin et al. 2017 ; Velarde et al. 2007 ; Weeland et al. 2019 ). The many beneficial effects of contact with nature have included improved mood, happiness, subjective well-being, sleep, and cognitive functioning (as reflected in memory and
The Victorian-Era Imagination in Relation to Public Health and Well-Being Among Tamil Canadians
The constitution, the law of the land of the modern state, is fertile ground for the Eurocentric imagination of the Canadian polity as a result of the resiliency of Victorian-era sentiments. The ethno-racial hierarchy contained within this political imagery merges well with the public health mandate process of 'othering'. Othering situates the causes of disease and illness in foreign bodies rather than in the social structures of industrial capitalism. Chief among its morbid symptoms, othering produces a sense of alienation in those subjected to it. Sri Lankan Tamils are one of the newer migrant populations who have been subjected to, and have resisted this intrinsically violent othering process. This article examines the Canadian constitution as it relates to ethno-racial classification, and then explores how this scheme is reproduced in common experiences of the public health system and its effects on the health and well-being of Canadian Tamils.
The Importance of Nature in the Well-Being of Rural Elders
Sandra S. Butler and Adrienne L. Cohen
This article presents two independent studies examining the experiences of older adults aging in rural environments in the United States. In face-to-face interviews, study participants (n = 66 in study 1 and n = 8 in study 2) were asked what they like about aging in a rural area and what they found challenging. Interview transcripts were analyzed for recurring themes in each study and striking similarities were found with regard to the importance of nature or “aesthetic capital” to the well-being of the study participants. Primary themes emerging from study 1 data included peace, safety, beauty, space, and interacting with nature. The themes emerging from the second study included the world outside the window, traveling around by car, and longing for natural beauty. A negative theme that emerged from both studies related to the dearth of health and social services in rural areas. Implications of the studies' findings with regard to the value of nature in the lives of elders are discussed in relation to practice, policy, and planning.
Quality in the Balance
On the Adaptive and Mimetic Nature of Subjective Well-Being
‘Quality’ and ‘well-being’ are topical issues and part of their success is based on the suggestion that we have here hard and solid notions on which one can built a new and better society. As normative standards, they anticipate an ideal state from which the actual reality of things can be evaluated as deficient. In this light poverty appears as a sore phenomenon, an infringement of what the quality of life and well-being are all about. In an attempt to qualify this quality of life, the present article focuses on western poverty and its (lacking) sense of well-being. Turning these notions into norms, one should check if ‘quality’ and ‘well-being’ are transparent i.e., referring to unambiguous evaluations that can be assessed objectively. While common and moral sense supposes so, science has to doubt this assumption. The following is based on empirical research in different fields and some theoretical reflections. Bringing these together we try to identify the subjective mechanisms that trouble the notions of quality and well-being. Indeed, there are distorting forces at work, which create and abort the subjective experiences of quality and well-being and thereby nullify their evaluative potential.
Shades of Green: Measuring the Ecology of Urban Green Space in the Context of Human Health and Well-Being
Anna Jorgensen and Paul H. Gobster
In this paper we review and analyze the recent research literature on urban green space and human health and well-being, with an emphasis on studies that attempt to measure biodiversity and other green space concepts relevant to urban ecological restoration. We first conduct a broad scale assessment of the literature to identify typologies of urban green space and human health and well-being measures, and use a research mapping exercise to detect research priorities and gaps. We then provide a more in-depth assessment of selected studies that use diverse and innovative approaches to measuring the more ecological aspects of urban green space and we evaluate the utility of these approaches in developing urban restoration principles and practices that are responsive to both human and ecological values.