place of ‘place’ in wellbeing scholarship


Pablo Sarmiento Barletti (University of St Andrews) email
Emilia Ferraro (University of St. Andrews) email

for the panel *The Place of ‘Place’ in Wellbeing Scholarship *to be held at the
ASA’s meeting in June. Paper proposals should be submitted at
by January 5th
2014 (Sunday).

panel presents a forum for the critical engagement with conventional and
contrasting approaches and understandings of wellbeing. Our panel aims to: 1)
contribute to the emerging scholarship that calls for more complex and
culturally nuanced considerations of “the everyday business of living in
the world” (Whatmore 1999:30); 2) takes indigenous complex understandings
of the world and how to live in it seriously; 3) responds to recent calls for
“place-based” understandings of wellbeing; and 4) shows the
methodological contributions of rigorous ethnography to wellbeing scholarship.

discussions of wellbeing not also ontological discussions of what it means to
be human? If so, do different understandings of “wellbeings” beget
different modes of humanities? The interdisciplinary nature of wellbeing
scholarship focuses mainly on affluent societies of the North, hence mainstream
ideas of wellbeing are framed within grand Western narratives of what it means
to be human. What does a consideration of “place” bring to current
understandings of wellbeing? In what ways do “alternative”
understandings of wellbeing based on different modes of humanity challenge
conventional ideas debated in mainstream scholarship and policy debates? Can
such understandings of wellbeing represent possible viable alternatives to
mainstream universalising concepts of wellbeing? We invite ethnographic and
non-ethnographic papers that reflect critically on the importance that
“place” as an empirical and ontological category plays in
considerations of wellbeing cross-culturally.