Pursuits of Happiness: Well-being in Anthropological Perspective

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Gordon Mathews, Carolina Izquierdo
Berghahn Books, 2009 - Health & Fitness - 278 pages

Anthropology has long shied away from examining how human beings may lead happy and fulfilling lives. This book, however, shows that the ethnographic examination of well-being--defined as "the optimal state for an individual, a community, and a society"--and the comparison of well-being within and across societies is a new and important area for anthropological inquiry. Distinctly different in different places, but also reflecting our common humanity, well-being is intimately linked to the idea of happiness and its pursuits. Noted anthropological researchers have come together in this volume to examine well-being in a range of diverse ways and to investigate it in a range of settings: from the Peruvian Amazon, the Australian outback, and the Canadian north, to India, China, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States.


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Why Anthropology Can Ill Afford to Ignore
Is a Measure of Cultural WellBeing Possible
WellBeing among the Matsigenka of the Peruvian
The Shifting Landscape of Cree WellBeing
Lessons from India
WellBeing Cultural Pathology and Personal
Selfscapes of WellBeing in a Rural Indonesian
Conclusion Towards an Anthropology of WellBeing

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About the author (2009)

Gordon Mathews is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has written What Makes Life Worth Living? How Japanese and Americans Make Sense of Their Worlds (1996) and Global Culture /Individual Identity: Searching for Home in the Cultural Supermarket (2000), and co-written Hong Kong, China: Learning to Belong to a Nation (2007); he has co-edited Consuming Hong Kong (2001) and Japan's Changing Generations (2004).

Carolina Izquierdo is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for the Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research has centered on health and well-being among the Matsigenka in the Peruvian Amazon, the Mapuche in Chile, and middle-class families in the United States.

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