Chapter

The enigma of well-being?

Beverley A. Searle

in Well-being

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9781861348876
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304241 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861348876.003.0002
The enigma of well-being?

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This chapter charts the historical development of economic and psychological understandings of well-being, and sets out the sociology that underpins these theories. It also updates the debates, turning attention to the more recent preoccupation with positive psychology and happiness. This chapter argues that early theories were restrictive in their understanding of well-being through a tendency to focus on negatives namely, deprivation, exclusion and poverty. Well-being has become synonymous with quality of life and the possession of resources necessary for the satisfaction of needs, wants, desires and participation in activities enabling personal development, and self-actualisation and satisfactory comparison between oneself and others. This chapter shows as well how these conceptualisations have, in turn, been borne out by the development of comprehensive sets of indicators by which well-being can be measured both spatially and temporally.

Keywords: quality of life; poverty; deprivation; wealth; psychology; happiness; measurements

Chapter.  13156 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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