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Part 1 Adolescents and Emerging Adults
In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Chapter 10 Civil Society Should Be a Strong Political Force

Abstract

Civil Society is an essential prerequisite for citizens’ wellbeing, as achieved through a functioning democracy, rule of law, and governmental accountability. This chapter puts forth the argument that Civil Society, in its many forms such as non-profit organisations, unions, and associations, is becoming increasingly ineffective in performing its essential functions and preserving civil and human rights of citizens. This lack of effectiveness is leading to a lack of independence between Civil Society and the Government, in part due to financial influence. It is proposed that a culture of impunity is being generated, wherein Civil Society Organisations have ceased to effectively confront societal issues of dubious moral actions by the State. A number of instances which highlight this culture of impunity are presented, exemplifying the fundamental role of Civil Society in fostering a sense of belonging whilst strengthening shared values and social relations amongst citizens. The chapter concludes with observations about how participation in Civil Society can be reconceptualised in order to overcome the issues discussed.

In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Chapter 9 Desperately Seeking Wellbeing
Author: Brenda Murphy

Abstract

We are saturated by specific, prevailing and dangerously-normalising portrayals of women on screen and in print. It is easy to locate a ‘striptease culture’ that has become mainstream, as images of female bodies are hyper sexualised, commodified, produced and reproduced as spectacles of unattainable ‘beauty ideals’ and ‘perfect bodies’.

In this chapter, I consider media processes and explore how the media produces and portrays images, and I argue that the dominant ideology informing the production and consumption of images, specifically images of women, is wholly patriarchal. Feminist, gender and media theories can offer a unique perspective on wellbeing, especially when we name and spotlight ‘the portrayal of girls and women’ as a media event. From within that space I examine definitions of patriarchy, detail how the media functions to support that dominant ideology, and map contemporary media landscape, in relation to portrayal of bodies and explore the contested views of ‘well-being’. Embracing a cultural studies approach places us in a multidisciplinary and theoretically pluralistic space and affords a critical engagement with perspectives on cultural studies and feminist thinking in the media.

I examine the literature surrounding wellbeing, body ideal, the male gaze, and the objectifying of the female and male body. From there, I weave a discussion around the discourses surrounding wellbeing; the mediatised production of bodies; and the profound relationship between wellbeing and bodies. I document the fact that women and girls are regularly and routinely absent from media spaces, and when they are represented they are poor and dangerous representations that do not add up to wellbeing for anyone. The media facilitates the production the ‘self’ as a mediated ‘object’ and this has profound consequence for girls and women. The conditions of liveability need to be addressed for life to be made ‘bearable’.

In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Chapter 11 Families and Poverty in European Malta
Author: Sue Vella

Abstract

This chapter seeks to contribute to the research agenda on poverty among families in Malta. The chapter starts with a brief overview of the explanations for and effects of poverty in the literature, before turning to examine poverty statistics in Malta within a European context. Poverty rates among different household types are followed by an analysis of the impact of social transfers upon such rates. The data suggest a number of areas that merit further research in Malta, particularly in respect of recent measures targeted at single parents; the nature of persistent poverty and typical poverty trajectories; and the impact of income upon family formation. While data are not currently available about income adequacy among migrant families in Malta, the need for concerted study of this issue is underscored.

In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Part 3 Gender Perspectives
In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Introduction
In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Chapter 3 Preparing Our Students to Leap

Abstract

Further Education (FE) is almost a new venture on the Maltese Islands particularly for UK NVQ Levels 1 and 2. In 2001 the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) introduced the Foundation Certificate: A Further Education (FE) access course without entry requirements.

Drawing mainly on the study by , Evans’ concept of bounded agency (, ) and transition programmes by , this chapter explores the transitory experience of female students from Compulsory to Further Education. Between 2007 and 2010 these students narrated their experiences prior to entry at MCAST, as students on the MCAST campus, during their work placements as well as on their workplace. This chapter focuses primarily on students’ experiences prior to entering FE.

Findings indicate that students opting for FE are not given due importance with regard to preparing for transition. FE is also portrayed as a lesser option to traditional academic routes.

Based on the literature reviewed and the analysis of findings in connection to students’ perceptions on their preparation, proposals assisting educational practitioners in helping adolescents for transition are presented.

In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Part 2 Professional Issues
In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Chapter 1 Promoting Resilience and Wellbeing in Children and Young People
Author: Carmel Cefai

Abstract

The resilience perspective is concerned with the protection of vulnerable and marginalised children from exclusion, bullying, abuse, disadvantage, discrimination and other barriers in their development by focusing on their strengths and assets. It seeks to identify those processes which provide protection for such children and facilitate their healthy development, academic success and social and emotional competence. The theoretical framework of this chapter is based on a strengths-based, inclusive approach to resilience enhancement, with all children being equipped with the resources they need to overcome disadvantage and thrive within a culture of solidarity and support. This chapter will first describe the emergence of the resilience field as a strengths based perspective in contrast to the risk and deficit approach, and then define resilience within a transactional, systems perspective. It then presents the waves of research which have characterised the field from its initial development to recent, innovative developments, illustrating with case studies for each wave of research. It concludes with a critical examination of the construct of resilience, with suggestions for further research to advance the field.

In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field
Chapter 5 Promoting Wellbeing

Abstract

The counselling profession with its roots in humanistic psychology embraces human flourishing and actualisation rather than psychopathology. This chapter sounds a clarion call both to students new to the area of wellbeing as well as to counselling professionals in the field who may have bowed to the increasing expectations on them to focus on symptoms and distress. The authors offer practical recommendations as to how professionals can adapt their practice to focus on the value of wellbeing in the community. One of the challenges of putting into practice the authors’ proposed approach is the need to move beyond the traditional forms of data collection from individuals and to include opportunities for capturing research participants’ own experiences of themselves in the process of knowledge production. The chapter emphasises synergy between research and practice in order to more fully understand and more effectively promote wellbeing among human beings, thereby locating counselling psychology into the heart of the community.

In: Perspectives on Wellbeing: Applications from the Field