Tag Archives | wellbeing

Information and Communication Technology and Wellbeing in the Merchant Marines

Annamaria Dall’Anese, PhD student, UCL Anthropology

If the informal use of the internet through personal devices on board merchant vessels encounters barriers due to patchy infrastructure and weather issues, then the formal provision of ICT-empowered telemedicine has brought to an end the era when the sea made the ship an entirely isolated environment. The ship in the age of ICT appears as Foucault described it: as a “heterotopia”; a place that is both isolated and penetrable. My interest in merchant marines was sparked by joining a cargo ship sailing from Australia to Singapore as a passenger/English teacher in 2009. The passage, though short, gave me the opportunity to discover the social life of these communities, and I became intrigued by the issue of connectivity at sea.…

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Rethinking material relations: Happiness, wellbeing, and alternative indicators

Haidy Geismar, UCL and NYU

In 2006, the New Economics Foundation (nef) published the Happy Planet Index, a quantification of the “happiness quotients” of the world’s nations which considered life expectancy, the experience of wellbeing and, most importantly, ecological footprint as indicators of happiness,  displacing the usual measure of happiness: GNP or ability to consume endlessly. Surprisingly (or not) the UK, US and Australia were placed amongst the unhappiest nations of the world, Vanuatu the small Melanesian country where I have done research over the past 12 years, came top. By the second edition, Vanuatu was no longer top (due to data collection problems rather than unhappiness) but a widespread move to devise alternative indicators of wellbeing and to institutionalize them was well underway.…

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