An anthropology of well-being: Local perspectives and cultural constructions in the Bolivian Altiplano

Calestani, Melania (2009) An anthropology of well-being: Local perspectives and cultural constructions in the Bolivian Altiplano. (PhD thesis), Goldsmiths College, University of London, .

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This thesis focuses on individual and collective definitions of ‘the good life’ in the Bolivian plateau. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in the urban area of El Alto, the thesis explores potential contradictions between different orientations and models of well-being. The increasing interest amongst a group of Aymara intellectuals (GTZ) in an indigenous perspective on this topic provides the point of departure for an exploration of the complexity of ideas relating to this issue and an account of different definitions of ‘the good life’ among Aymara people. The thesis makes a contribution to debates regarding poverty and well-being and the problems attached to universal definitions, which tend to be based on simplified and economic criteria. By considering what different people value and prioritise in terms of their own well-being and, where applicable, their children’s well-being and happiness, the thesis offers a contribution to Andean anthropology and to the understanding of ‘poverty’. This entails an exploration of the moments of tension and synergy that exist between Aymara and Bolivian identity. It offers a detailed analysis of different collective and individual actions adopted for the achievement of well-being. In particular, these include social protests, moments of religious celebration, household cooperation, and the resort to supernatural forces and ‘making of luck (suerte)’ with a specific focus on gender and generational differences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University library.
Research Area: Anthropology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017)
Depositing User: Melania Calestani
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 08:47
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 12:20

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