AAC : Ouvrage collectif, Narratives of Wellbeing — LIMITE : 30/​06/​2022


Well­being’ has become a buzz­word across the globe, fashio­nable amongst policy-makers, corpo­rate mana­gers, resear­chers, and in everyday settings. The popu­la­rity of the concept indi­cates an impor­tant social aspi­ra­tion to improve quality of life across a range of areas. Yet, well­being is often embraced in an uncri­tical fashion, which assumes universal unders­tan­dings about impro­ve­ments in health and happi­ness that are straight­for­ward to measure.

The critical turn in well­being studies asks not only how well­being can be defined and measured, but what is created and excluded by the process of stri­ving for and arti­cu­la­ting well­being. Such pers­pec­tives move away from the focus on well­being indi­ca­tors to ask : what we are talking about when we talk about well­being ? And how might well­being be unders­tood, expe­rienced and mobi­lised diffe­rently in different contexts ?

To extend scho­larly conver­sa­tions on this subject, Narra­tives of Well­being will be a sympo­sium and edited volume that criti­cally examine well­being through a narra­tive frame­work. Narra­tives are a window into the temporal nature of human expe­rience (Ricoeur 1979) and narra­tives of well­being reveal how the aspi­ra­tion to live well is socio-cultu­rally and indi­vi­dually mediated. How is being well navi­gated, inter­preted, arti­cu­lated, and/​or brought into being through the construc­tion of narra­tive ? How might the stories we tell about well­being change depen­ding on the expected audience ? What are the tensions and over­laps between various scripts about what it means to live well, socially, cultu­rally, econo­mi­cally, and spiri­tually ? How do certain narra­tives of well­being become autho­ri­ta­tive while others are subju­gated ? When are narra­tives about well­being thera­peutic and when are they iatro­genic ? What do different narra­tives of well­being accom­plish, produce and disguise ?

This inter­dis­ci­pli­nary sympo­sium and edited volume will bring toge­ther resear­chers who approach well­being from a range of pers­pec­tives, inclu­ding : socio­logy ; poli­tics ; anthro­po­logy ; linguis­tics ; history ; Indi­ge­nous studies ; philo­sophy ; reli­gious studies ; deve­lop­ment studies ; and gender, sexua­lity and diver­sity studies. We welcome paper propo­sals on topics inclu­ding, but not limited to : histo­rical narra­tives about well­being ; compe­ting scripts about well­being ; well­being as narrated in different disci­pli­nary tradi­tions ; the stra­tegic use of well­being narra­tives ; power and inequa­lity in the arti­cu­la­tion of well­being ; and the thera­peutic possi­bi­li­ties of narra­ti­vi­sing wellbeing.

Sympo­sium abstracts are due to be submitted by June 30, 2022. Sympo­sium papers (2000–3000 words) will be pre-circu­lated a week before the event. The sympo­sium will be convened in hybrid format online and at La Trobe Univer­sity, Melbourne. Follo­wing the sympo­sium, parti­ci­pants will be invited to contri­bute to an edited volume, with full papers provi­sio­nally due 1 November 2022. Please contact the conve­nors with any questions.


Tarryn Phil­lips, Timothy Jones, Natalie Araujo and Jack Taylor







RICOEUR, PAUL. “The Human Expe­rience of Time and Narra­tive.” Research in Pheno­me­no­logy, vol. 9, Brill, 1979, pp. 17–34, http://​www​.jstor​.org/​s​t​a​b​l​e​/​2​4​654326

Dates  Miles­tone 
May – June 2022 Circu­la­ting invi­ta­tions and call for contri­bu­tions
June 30th, 2022 Abstracts due
July 14th, 2022 Contri­bu­tors assi­gned to one or two peers whose work has natural synergy, for review and feed­back
August 22nd, 2022 Contri­bu­tors submit 2–3000 word paper for pre-circu­la­tion, inclu­ding the struc­ture that their chapter will be based on
Thursday September 1st + Friday September 2nd , 2022  Sympo­sium (hybrid model combi­ning face to face atten­dance in Melbourne and online modes). Each contri­butor presents 10 minute provo­ca­tion based on theme of paper to maxi­mise exchange of ideas and useful­ness of feedback 
October 2022  Edito­rial team to refine book proposal
October 28th, 2022  Chap­ters due
November 2022  Fina­li­sing book proposal and submit­ting to publi­sher

Refe­rence page