The Essex Sustainability Institute is hosting a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. The next seminar in the series will be held on the 26th of October 2012, in room 5S.4.11, 12:30 – 14:00 (bring your lunch). All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speakers on the day, please email Zareen Bharucha, at zpbhar (at) essex.ac.uk. More on the first seminar below.
Title: Wellbeing and Poverty in Marginalised Communities: Zambia and India compared
Abstract: This paper presents initial findings from ongoing interdisciplinary research into subjective and objective dimensions of wellbeing in two marginalised communities, one in India and one in Zambia. It begins by introducing the research and the model of wellbeing it has developed. It then describes the locations and some basic similarities and differences between them. Initial results are then presented. These give pause for thought to anyone who maintains that wellbeing is a purely individual or psychological matter. Preliminary though the findings are, they clearly point to the fact that economics and politics are critical to people’s ability to achieve wellbeing. This is shown both in the salience of structural differences such as wealth and gender/marital status in predicting levels of inner wellbeing, and in the importance of the ‘enabling environment’: policy and polity, security and insecurity.
Sarah White is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath and Director of Wellbeing and Poverty Pathways, funded by ESRC/DFID, 2010-2013 (www.wellbeingpathways.org). She is a sociologist of international development, who has worked previously on gender, race, child rights and religion, mainly in the context of Bangladesh.
We’ve begun! Our new research project will explore the links between local food and wellbeing in the East of England (Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk). Regular updates here.
‘Wellbeing’ is currently a fashionable concept. Just out this week, the Office of National Statistics have released a number of publications on the measurement of national wellbeing, which includes interactive tools for local mapping of wellbeing. These map counties and local authorities in terms of scores along four dimensions: respondents ‘life satisfaction’, ‘worthwhileness’, ‘happiness’ and ‘anxiety’. All four dimensions were measured on a 10-point scale; key findings are listed here and results are here.
Maps show that Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex score in-line with or above UK-wide percentages of respondents reporting medium or high life satisfaction; all three counties have a higher percentage of respondents reporting feelings of happiness than the UK-wide figure. Finally, compared with national averages, Suffolk and Essex had a lower percentage of people reporting having felt ‘high or very high anxiety yesterday’ than the UK-wide percentage, but Norfolk was higher.