Perspectives on Wellbeing

A Reader


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The study of wellbeing is not new. Over two millennia ago, the Ancient Greeks were already debating different conceptions of the good life, and how it may be fostered, albeit a debate for the privileged in ancient Greek society. More recently, the post-WWII concern with economic scarcity gave way – as prosperity rose in the later 20th century – to values such as personal growth and social inclusion. In parallel, research has increasingly turned its focus to wellbeing, going beyond traditional measures of income, wealth and employment. Greater attention is now paid to the subjective experience of wellbeing which, it is broadly agreed, has many dimensions such as life satisfaction, optimal functioning and a good quality of life.

Perspectives on Wellbeing: A Reader brings together a number of chapters that examine wellbeing from different disciplinary perspectives. A number of the chapters take the angle of human flourishing, looking at the respective contributions of belonging, emotional resilience, spirituality, prosocial behaviour, literacy and leisure. Others look at wellbeing through a social relations lens, including family relations, youth, persons with disability and gender. Finally, a chapter on wellbeing and economics illustrates different approaches to measuring wellbeing and identifying its determinants. The book concludes with a chapter that argues for the enduring importance of the welfare state if the wellbeing of all is to be ensured.

This book is likely to be of interest to both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the social sciences as well as to a general readership.

Contributors are: Angela Abela, Andrew Azzopardi, Paul Bartolo, Marie Briguglio, Amy Camilleri Zahra, Joanne Cassar, Marilyn Clark, Ruth Falzon, Vickie Gauci, Ingrid Grech Lanfranco, Natalie Kenely, Mary Anne Lauri, Marceline Naudi, Claudia Psaila, Clarissa Sammut Scerri, Sandra Scicluna Calleja, Barbara Stelmaszek, Sue Vella, and Val Williams.

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Sue Vella, Ph.D. (2007), University of York, UK, is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of Malta. She has published in the areas of long-term care, family, employment and migration.

Ruth Falzon, Ph.D. (2012), University of Northumbria, UK, is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Counselling at the University of Malta. She has published in the areas of dyslexia and wellbeing, school counselling, personal and social development and ethnography.

Andrew Azzopardi, Ed.D. (2015), University of Sheffield, UK, is Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Youth and Community Studies and Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing. He is the first Professor of Disability Studies in Malta but has also published extensively in community development and youth studies.
Notes on Contributors
Sue Vella, Ruth Falzon and Andrew Azzopardi

1. Belong and Flourish – Drop Out and Perish: The Belongingness Hypothesis
Paul Bartolo
2. Emotional Intelligence, Resilience and Wellbeing
Natalie Kenely
3. Spirituality: The Cornerstone of Wellbeing?
Claudia Psaila
4. Prosocial Behaviour and Psychological Wellbeing
Mary Anne Lauri and Sandra Scicluna Calleja
5. Family Wellbeing: A Look at Maltese Families
Clarissa Sammut Scerri, Ingrid Grech Lanfranco and Angela Abela
6. Literacy and Wellbeing
Ruth Falzon
7. Voices of the Young So-Called Vulnerable: How Well Is Their Being?
Andrew Azzopardi
8. The Conceptualisation of Leisure as an Indicator and Component of Social Wellbeing
Joanne Cassar and Marilyn Clark
9. Dis/Empowerment under Patriarchy: Intimate Partner Violence against Women
Marceline Naudi and Barbara Stelmaszek
10. Disabled People and Social Wellbeing: What’s Good for Us Is Good for Everyone
Val Williams, Amy Camilleri Zahra and Vickie Gauci
11. Wellbeing: An Economics Perspective
Marie Briguglio
12. Wellbeing: A Welfare Perspective
Sue Vella

Though intended primarily as a textbook for social science students at all levels, it is also relevant to anyone interested in the psychological and social dimensions of wellbeing.
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