11. April – 14. April 2023
Panel at the ASA 2023 conference „An Unwell World? Anthropology in a Speculative Mode” at the University of London
In their exploration of what ‘life is worth’, Marsland and Prince (2012) contend that anthropologists’ tendency to focus on the dystopic – on violence, suffering, deprivation, destitution and bare life – comes at the expense of beginning with people’s everyday situated concerns. Conversely, ‘an anthropology of hope’ (Corsin-Jimenez, 2008) can point us in a different direction towards how people create what Thin (2008) calls ‘normal happiness’ or the condition of being well, despite ever-threatening sources of harm and misery. This panel seeks contributions that explore the notion of well-being as a biosocial phenomenon. It asks how we can fruitfully access, measure, analyse and grasp how people make lives with worth and the effect this has on their health. If creativity is ‘a poetics of making’ (McLean, 2009), what are people in a variety of contexts hoping to create in the generation of well-being, how do they go about making these hopes materialize and what are the effects of these different poetics of making on bodies and society? In particular, we invite papers that engage with the role of phenomena such as fun, joy, play, creativity, imagination, experimentation and resourcefulness in generating well-being and/or that consider how biosocial anthropology might methodologically account for the role of well-being practices on health.