Relational Wellbeing: Re-centring the Politics of Happiness, Policy and the Self

Sarah C White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Citations (SciVal)


The ubiquity of references to happiness and wellbeing indicates widespread anxiety that all may not be well, reflecting the erosion of the social in late capitalist modernity. The paper finds that, rather than helping to solve this problem, individualist formulations of wellbeing in policy mimic or deepen the underlying pathology. Drawing on empirical research in Zambia and India, it advocates an alternative approach, relational wellbeing, which is grounded in a relational ontology that can challenge dominant ideologies of the self, places central the generative quality of relationality which is critical to societal change and engenders a socially inclusive political vision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalPolicy and Politics
Issue number2
Early online date20 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017


  • relational wellbeing, subjective wellbeing, happiness, self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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