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EXAMINING CHILEANS' SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING

Baquedano, Marjorie (2019) EXAMINING CHILEANS' SUBJECTIVE WELL-BEING. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Taking into account the relevance subjective well-being has acquired in international research and political agendas in the last decade, this dissertation explores people’s judgements and feelings as an essential part of our understanding of well-being in Chile. Subjective well-being is understood as the perception that people have of their own lives and the context in which they are living. That perception includes life satisfaction evaluations, positive and negative feelings and assessments about their social environment. This thesis argues that a broader assessment of well-being in Chile should include subjective well-being analyses, examining people’s living conditions beyond the classical macroeconomic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and National Household Incomes. Several studies covering subjective well-being in Chile have demonstrated that Chilean people experience higher levels of life satisfaction and happiness, but they have neglected to explore a wider notion of subjective well-being. In contrast with international evidence focused on psychological subjective well-being and the interactions between people’s perceptions and views on their societies, national research still understands subjective well-being as a sum of pleasurable emotions and feelings taking place at an individual level exclusively. Tackling those limitations, this dissertation contributes with a multidimensional subjective well-being analysis underpinned by the Positive Psychology and the Capability Approach and supported by three empirical studies. The first study examines subjective well-being in Chile accounting for the classical hedonic aspect including life satisfaction and happiness, but also involving a eudaimonic component measured by people’s freedom of choice and having meaningful lives and purposes. The second study explores how Chileans’ subjective well-being might be affected by their perceptions towards their society, accounting for their level of confidence in national political institutions and generalised trust. Finally, the third empirical chapter examines how well-being is impacted by three sets of capabilities related to material living conditions and promoted by Chilean social policy as key aspects for achieving Chileans’ well-being. In turn, the results supported that subjective well-being is well reflected by the hedonic dimension, but also by a wider psychological well-being close to human flourishing. People’s perceptions towards their social environment showed a higher effect on subjective well-being. Societal matters and social policies might positively or negatively influence people’s evaluations and feelings; therefore, the notion of subjective well-being as an individual state should be reviewed, recognising that contextual aspects make a difference. Finally, some core aspects of social policy in Chile such as having access to healthcare, shelter, income and work were revealed to be crucial to achieving well-being, but are not enough for meaningful lives. Moreover, the findings also suggest that those aspects do not have the same relevance for all Chileans, indeed, according to specific demographic and socioeconomic attributes; there are some more relevant than others, supporting evidence for a more focalised national social policy in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Sociological Studies (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.770227
Depositing User: Mrs Marjorie Baquedano
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2019 12:25
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2019 20:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23228

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