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.
6.1The relationship between culture and well-being
For many the arts are a real source of happiness, joy, fun, relaxation and learning. (The Director of Research at Arts Council England [Bunting 2007a, 4]) A wider definition [of wealth], associated with Ruskin, sees a nation’s wealth as including personal happiness and fulfilment. It’s an obviously broader view, into which culture fits more readily. (Secretary for Culture, Media and […]continue reading →
6.1.2Well-being and culture: reviewing the long theoretical lineage
to increase the happiness of men by giving them beauty and interest of incident to amuse their leisure, and prevent them wearying even of rest, and by giving them hope and bodily pleasure in their work; or, shortly, to make man’s work happy and his rest fruitful. (William Morris, Aims of Art lecture, 1887, in Belfiore and Bennett 2008, 144) […]continue reading →
6.2Cultural policy as social policycontinue reading →
6.2.1Cultural policy: operationalising the questions ‘what is culture?’
Taking now the point of view of identification, the reader must remind himself as the author constantly has to do, of how much is here embraced by the term culture. It includes all the characteristic activities and interests of a people; Derby Day, Henley Regatta, Cowes, the twelfth of August, a cup final, the dog races, the pin table, the […]continue reading →
6.2.2Cultural policy: institutions for well-being
It was the task of C.E.M.A. [Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts] to carry music, drama and pictures to places which would otherwise be cut off from all contact with the masterpieces of happier days and times: to air-raid shelters, to war-time hostels, to factories, to mining villages. (John Maynard Keynes 1945) The naturalised relationship between culture […]continue reading →
6.2.3Cultural policy: whose culture is good culture for well-being?
Sport and culture are widely perceived to generate social impacts. There is a long history of academic and evaluation research into the social impacts of sport and culture … This evidence includes individual impacts (e.g. health/ fitness, mental health and wellbeing), life satisfaction, cognitive development, social skills; and broader community impacts such as social capital, increased volunteering, improved community cohesion, […]continue reading →
6.3Cultural value and the role of well-being data
As with the terms culture, well-being and social value, you will probably not be surprised to know there is no one definition of cultural value. Like so many of the other terms set out in this book, there are long debates and no clear consensus . Given the extent of these discussions, there is a brief overview of cultural value, […]continue reading →
6.3.1Well-being Measures – arguing a right to culture?
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (Article 27 of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights) Before the UK’s well-being measures were finalised, a national debate was administered by the ONS to decide ‘what matters to you?’. […]continue reading →
As we have seen, the naturalised role of cultural life as being valuable to a good society (or national and personal well-being) has been popularised in different parts of society and instrumentalised as policy. Yet articulations of cultural participation slip between everyday and elite activities, arguably confusing claims to social impact and understanding of what I call the culture–well-being relationship. […]continue reading →