An anthropology of ‘The Good Life’ in the Bolivian Plateau.

Calestani, Melania (2009) An anthropology of ‘The Good Life’ in the Bolivian Plateau. Social Indicators Research, 90 (1). pp. 141-153. ISSN 0303-8300

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Abstract

This paper addresses my understanding of well-being as harmonious relations in the city of El Alto, Bolivia. My approach shows the complexity of issues emerging when dealing with social relations. First of all, I analyse a specific case study showing the moral obligation involved among household members. Then I attempt to provide an insight into other aspects of social life to realise that the same degree of moral duty can be found when people participate in religious festivities or social protests. Collaboration, unity and co-operation often coexist with conflicts and moral obligation. The paper argues that this picture of complex coexistence is rather different from the substantive freedom described by Sen (Development as freedom. Oxford University Press, 1999) in his capability approach. By taking Sen’s theoretical framework as a point of departure for this investigation, it aims to emphasise the value of ethnography and other qualitative methods to the study of well-being. In the field of well-being, social interaction may greatly affect people’s capabilities to choose the lives they have reason to value, obliging them to follow certain models based on shared values and preferences. The paper contributes to debates on this specific issue, trying to shed light on the picture emerging when engaging with ethnographic research.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Law > Law and Politics
Citations on ISI Web of Science:2
ID Code:7149
Deposited On:18 Feb 2011 06:37
Last Modified:06 Feb 2013 11:50

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