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Well-Being for a Better World: The Contribution of a Radically Relational and Nature-Inclusive Conception of Well-Being to the Sustainability Transformation

Julkaistu 13.6.2021


The current ecological crisis attests that the price of the human pursuit of well-being has been too high and that the conception of well-being behind this pursuit has been flawed. Building on research on sustainable well-being, well-being research in sociology, social policy, psychology, and philosophy; need theories, degrowth research, and ecopsychology, this article investigates what kind of narrative and conception of well-being could contribute to the transformation toward sustainability. The article first delves into the current popularity of the discourse on well-being, discussing both its pitfalls and promises, and explaining why well-being is a significant concept for the sustainability transformation, when appropriately defined and free of an economic bias. A relational, and therefore sustainable, approach to well-being, namely the Having-Loving-Doing-Being framework (shortened HDLB), is then presented and elaborated. Going deeper into the topic of relationality, the article then examines the tug-of-war between the notions of objective vs. subjective and hedonic vs. eudaimonic well-being, and clarifies the HDLB framework’s position on these issues, elucidating why a radically relational and nature-inclusive – and in the last resort, non-dualist – approach, offers an exit from the polarity of these dichotomies.

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Tuula Helne

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  • Koko viite: Helne, T. (2021). Well-being for a better world: the contribution of a radically relational and nature-inclusive conception of well-being to the sustainability transformation. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 17(1).

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