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
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.
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.
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.
Pro-activity and Well-Being
Jhan Van de Kerckhove
The current prevention policy continues to be reactive. It is even negative and demotivating. This atmosphere is destroying the working conditions we need in our new social-economic environment. Quality of work has become top of the agenda together with creativity, personal development and involvement. The human being is transformed from a potential source of disturbance into an essential success factor. A new approach to prevention policy is imposing itself in this context. Caring for safety, health and well-being of the employees at the same time means caring for the well-being and the future of the organization. The great challenge now becomes the development of the human potential. In that perspective a real proactive prevention policy is needed. Proactivity implies prevention but goes much further. Real proactivity refers to the dreams and positive objectives people wish to see realised. Well-being, participation and empowerment of all participants are important targets while the expected implications for culture are commitment, trust and open communication. This approach is very close to the conditional factors of social quality as described in the report of the European Foundation on the European Network Indicators of Social Quality.
Well-being and coping strategies of women in the aftermath of the 2010 conflict in Kyrgyzstan
After the 2010 intercommunal violence in Kyrgyzstan, women in the city of Osh were exposed to many difficulties. Conflict eroded people's contentment, and satisfactory living conditions were supplanted by increased challenges—such as deteriorating health and education systems, declining communication and economic opportunities, and the loss of property. Men's deaths during the conflict and the increased labor migration of men after the conflict also resulted in increased numbers of single mothers. This article presents trends among women, examines their coping mechanisms, and explores the well-being of single mothers by considering what makes women's lives meaningful in a postconflict situation.
Reflections on Pandemic Confinement
Alan E. Kazdin and Pablo Vidal-González
Human contact with nature is more important than ever before considering the global confinement brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased urbanization of society, and increased rates of mental disorders and threats to human well-being. This article conveys the importance of contact with nature from three perspectives: historical, sociocultural, and scientific. These perspectives convey the many ways in which contact with nature is essential to human life, the multiple ways in which this is expressed, and the broad range of benefits this has. The case for preserving the natural environment continues to be made in light of the dangers of climate change, the deleterious effects of pollution, and the importance of habitats. We add to the case by underscoring how human well-being has depended on contact with natural environments and how the need for this contact is more salient now than ever before.
Immigrant Families, Elderly Care, Ethnography and Policy
This article considers how immigrant retention relates to family obligations, drawing a complex portrait of a common family dilemma involving the care of aging kin. The ethnographic life-history approach offers an important perspective on how health and well-being are not simply structured by formal access to institutions of care, but by the socio-cultural, economic and geographic flexibility of families to accommodate their needs. Analysis draws on the interdependant migration histories of a family of six adult sisters originating in Tanzania. In the case of this family, the dilemma surrounding the care of aging parents is not so much caused by migration's disruption of traditional filial obligations. Instead, it is the effect of social pressures stirred in both sending and receiving countries, which frame opportunities for eventual social integration, relocation or sometimes reluctant repatriation. A reflexive approach argues for the active presence of ethnographers in policy debates.
Eleanor Sterling, Tamara Ticktin, Tē Kipa Kepa Morgan, Georgina Cullman, Diana Alvira, Pelika Andrade, Nadia Bergamini, Erin Betley, Kate Burrows, Sophie Caillon, Joachim Claudet, Rachel Dacks, Pablo Eyzaguirre, Chris Filardi, Nadav Gazit, Christian Giardina, Stacy Jupiter, Kealohanuiopuna Kinney, Joe McCarter, Manuel Mejia, Kanoe Morishige, Jennifer Newell, Lihla Noori, John Parks, Pua’ala Pascua, Ashwin Ravikumar, Jamie Tanguay, Amanda Sigouin, Tina Stege, Mark Stege, and Alaka Wali
sustaining environmental health and community well-being in the face of environmental, social, and economic change ( Fazey et al. 2011 ; Folke et al. 2003 ). Here we present case studies on locally grounded indicators of resilience that include both social
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.