The Emergence of Wellbeing in Late Modern Capitalism: Theory, Research and Policy Responses

Vincent La Placa, Anneyce Knight


This article outlines a historical and theoretical framework that traces the historical and discursive emergence of the concept of wellbeing as a consequence of the decline of traditional capitalism and modernity and the subsequent shift to a late modern capitalist economy. On the structural level, this shift precipitates a new type of consumption that not only characterises the productive and physical capacity of the economy and products, but cascades into the social construction of multiple discursive, symbolic and cultural products, images, and forms of information and meanings, from wellbeing emerges. This process has consequences for individuals in late modernity as they navigate through a world where life-worlds, security and relationships are disrupted and require new forms of revising and responding to change. Consequently, wellbeing further establishes a means of responding and adapting to, for instance, changing lives, circumstances, security, and happiness. The emergence of wellbeing as a significant component of social policy discourses has also precipitated debate around the types of research and policy responses relevant to the study of wellbeing. As a result, the article also prescribes an epistemology founded upon a ‘cultural’ and ‘relational’ approach that can effectively underpin research and social policies relevant to wellbeing in late modern capitalism.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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