This panel will examine understandings of collective wellbeing from the perspective of the state, often expressed through development discourse, and individuals and communities with their own conceptions of wellbeing, and the ontological disagreements that may be present as these perspectives meet.
This panel will examine understandings of collective wellbeing from the perspective of the state, often expressed through development discourse, and individuals and communities with their own conceptions of wellbeing who may be on the receiving end of development programmes designed to improving the living conditions of national populations, and bring constituent populations closer to the state. Papers will discuss what happens when the singular perspective of the state meets the multiple ontologies of its constituent peoples. In particular, in postcolonial societies where development, as Arturo Escobar has theorised, has functioned as a continuation of the civilising ideology of colonisation, singular visions of wellbeing have been used by states to justify particular regimes of economic and social development, with the aim of creating citizens of singular nation-states, but in so doing often clash with indigenous perspectives on wellbeing. Conflicts over resources extraction and infrastructural development, such as the construction of a mine, a damn, a road or oil wells often involve ontological disagreements over the identity of lakes, forests, mountains and rivers. Papers may choose to address the political implications of regarding, such entities, following Marisol de la Cadena, as "Earth Beings" imbued with multiple ontological realities, and/or the coalitions that emerge between people with multiple ontological understandings in the defence of them. Papers might also address attempts by states to recognise such multiple ontologies, and how this has manifested in development discourse and practice; or, how state discourses on wellbeing come into contact with local understandings of living well.