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Title: An anthropology of well-being : local perspectives and cultural constructions in the Bolivian Altiplano
Author: Calestani, Melania
ISNI:       0000 0004 2686 3963
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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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 EI 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 fiesta, household cooperation, and the resort to supernatural forces and 'making of luck (suerte), with a specific focus on gender and generational differences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Anthropology