Well-being and consumer culture: a different kind of public health problem?

Carlisle, S. and Hanlon, P. (2007) Well-being and consumer culture: a different kind of public health problem? Health Promotion International, 22(3), pp. 261-268. (doi: 10.1093/heapro/dam022)



Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dam022


The concept of well-being is now of interest to many disciplines; as a consequence, it presents an increasingly complex and contested territory. We suggest that much current thinking about well-being can be summarized in terms of four main discourses: scientific, popular, critical and environmental. Exponents of the scientific discourse argue that subjective well-being is now static or declining in developed countries: a paradox for economists, as incomes have grown considerably. Psychological observations on the loss of subjective well-being have also entered popular awareness, in simplified form, and conceptions of well-being as happiness are now influencing contemporary political debate and policy-making. These views have not escaped criticism. Philosophers understand well-being as part of a flourishing human life, not just happiness. Some social theorists critique the export of specific cultural concepts of well-being as human universals. Others view well-being as a potentially divisive construct that may contribute to maintaining social inequalities. Environmentalists argue that socio-cultural patterns of over-consumption, within the neo-liberal economies of developed societies, present an impending ecological threat to individual, social and global well-being. As the four discourses carry different implications for action, we conclude by considering their varied utility and applicability for health promotion.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Well-being, consumer culture.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hanlon, Professor Philip and Carlisle, Dr Sandra
Authors: Carlisle, S., and Hanlon, P.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:Health Promotion International
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2007 Oxford University Press
First Published:First published in Health Promotion Journal 22(3):261-268
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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