Das Kind mit dem Bade ausschütten? Gadamer's concept of 'health' within contemporary discussions on (subjective) well-being and place
Fionagh Thomson (University of St Andrews)
Paper short abstract:
Contemporary discussions around Well-being and Place have been criticised for being formed and controlled by the medical model of care. This paper explores the role of Gadamer’s concept of ‘health’, that is notably absent within current debates.
Paper long abstract:
Contemporary discussions around Well-being have been criticised for being formed and controlled by the medical model of care, in particular by four dominant concepts. Firstly, as an abstract and objective concept, designed as a tool for policy makers and rarely linked to citizens' everyday worlds. Secondly, as an absence of medically defined disease, particularly mental health issues. Thirdly, a universal concept assigned to an individual by objective categories rather than by the individual themselves. Finally, as a quality belonging/confined to an individual rather than as being part of the wider community. Recent challenges to these dominant representations of well-being, has led to, for example, i) the concept of subjective wellbeing being incorporated into future UK household surveys and - within the interdisciplinary field of wellbeing and place - ii) an increasing shift from individual wellbeing towards community and environmental wellbeing. This paper explores the role of Hans-Georg Gadamer's concept of 'health' (as outlined in his 1996 work the Enigma of Health) within these current debates on Well-being and Place. Gadamer's work is notably absent, although he challenges the medical model of care in contemporary understandings of well-being and the importance of a human being's place within their everyday world.
The place of 'place' in wellbeing scholarship