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Narratives of wellbeing

Gaggiotti, Hugo; Jarvis, Carol; Kars-Unluoglu, Selen; von Bulow, Charlotte


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Hugo Gaggiotti
Professor in Human Resource Management

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Carol Jarvis
Professor in Knowledge Exchange, Public and Business Engagement and Innovation

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Selen Kars
Associate Professor in Organisation Studies

Charlotte von Bulow


As the Philosopher John Austin (1962) pointed out, saying and doing are indissociable, although not always expressed in the same way with the same understanding and intention. For Cieslik (2016), accounts of wellbeing are “rooted in social, caring relationships and traditional virtues of compassion, altruism and duty” (p. 432). Versions of this narrative also underpin discussions of wellbeing in the health and care sector in England. In this paper we present an ethnographic experience of working with two different health and care settings that aim to reduce health inequalities. We explore the differences in how narratives about wellbeing are interpreted and enacted. We suggest that where the intention behind ‘saying’ and ‘doing’ become dissociated, the narrative is disrupted and at odds with experience. By contrast, we experienced that where narratives are entwined with an ethic of care and empathic listening, a form of ‘magical thinking’ occurs.


Gaggiotti, H., Jarvis, C., Kars-Unluoglu, S., & von Bulow, C. (2022, September). Narratives of wellbeing. Paper presented at Narratives of Wellbeing Symposium, Hybrid - LaTrobe University, Australia and online

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name Narratives of Wellbeing Symposium
Conference Location Hybrid - LaTrobe University, Australia and online
Start Date Sep 1, 2022
End Date Sep 2, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 2, 2022
Keywords narratives of wellbeing; practices of compassion; magical thinking
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