Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Professor Sarah White wins prestigious British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship 2016/17

Fri Mar 04 16:29:00 GMT 2016

Professor Sarah C. White has won a prestigious British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for the year 2016/17.

Professor Sarah White

Professor Sarah C. White


Her project, 'Relational wellbeing: Restoring the Subject to Subjective Wellbeing', provides an opportunity to consolidate and advance the strong profile of work at Bath on interdisciplinary approaches to wellbeing, especially in developing countries, that has been pursued in SPS since 2002.

The fellowship aims to develop an emergent concept - relational wellbeing - into an intellectually robust, empirically grounded and practically useful approach that can challenge the dominant constructs of psychological and subjective wellbeing.

Reflecting growing interest in relational thinking across the human and environmental sciences, relational wellbeing appears in international development, geography, social policy and social anthropology.

It goes beyond simply recognising that relationships are important to individuals, to viewing wellbeing itself as a collective good.

It resists the abstraction of the psychological from the material and social, and also considers how cultural, political, social, physical and economic contexts structure understandings and attainment of wellbeing.

The approach emphasises process and flow, leading ultimately to an ecological view of wellbeing constituted through inter-linked personal, societal and environmental processes, whilst drawing attention to the way research methods shape the accounts of wellbeing they produce.

In addition to its intellectual contribution, a key objective of the project is its potential for application and impact. Accordingly, reflexive dialogue will be conducted throughout with four partner organisations in the UK and internationally to expose the analysis as it develops to the demands of producing an output that is of practical utility and maximum impact.