Understanding Well-being Data

chapter 6 Relating well-being, values, culture and society

6 Relating well-being, values, culture and society

LoThis chapter looks at the relationship between culture and well-being. It introduces how the ‘the culture-well-being relationship’ is invoked in advocacy for culture’s role in social policy, resting on a philosophical lineage. It demonstrates how this relationship has been theorised, naturalised and popularised to become ‘common sense’ for some, while its use in policy has seen it institutionalised, operationalised, metricised and monetised. This chapter reviews this process through a brief survey of cultural policy, asking who decides which—or whose—culture is good for society from Victorian to contemporary cultural value debates. This chapter presents the increasing presence of well-being data in this story, as well as the role of cultural measures in national well-being data from the UK to Bhutan.