Wellbeing research and policy in the U.K.: questionable science likely to entrench inequality

Journal of Critical Realism 16 (5):451-467 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


There are grave issues with how the U.K. government approaches the issue of wellbeing. Specifically, policy interventions that might improve the material conditions of citizens are being down-played, and at times out-rightly dismissed. Instead, an individualist, instrumental message is being promoted, namely, that the best way to improve wellbeing is by improving individual happiness and mental health. I argue that this instrumental message – which in practice blames the victims for their lack of happiness and removes state responsibility – can be made to sound feasible because of a reliance on positivist-based research, whether obtained objectively or subjectively. In this paper, I therefore detail the failings of mainstream wellbeing research and its policy conclusions, and argue that critical realism offers solutions.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,635

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Wealth and Economic Inequality.James B. Davies - 2009 - In Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan & Timothy M. Smeeding (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality. Oxford University Press.
Alive and Well: The Research Imperative.Rebecca Dresser - 2012 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 40 (4):915-921.
The Impact of Inequality.Richard Wilkinson - 2006 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 73:711-732.
Inequality and Political Consensus.Hans Peter Grüner - 2009 - Theory and Decision 67 (3):239-265.
The Impact of Inequality.Richard G. Wilkinson - 2006 - Social Research: An International Quarterly 73 (2):711-732.
Developing a Federal Policy on Research Misconduct.Sybil Francis - 1999 - Science and Engineering Ethics 5 (2):261-272.


Added to PP

35 (#331,395)

6 months
1 (#419,510)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Leigh Price
Rhodes University