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Knowledge Politics: Multidimensional wellbeing indicators as policy instruments

Webinar with Karen Scott
22 July, Thursday, 09:30-11:00 BST (GMT+1) / 10:30-12:00 CEST (GMT+2)

Description: The conceptualisation and measurement of wellbeing has become a significant policy concern over the last two decades. Many local, national, supranational and international governance bodies have engaged intensively in research to develop wellbeing indicators. Slower, however, has been the transition to using these wellbeing indicators for policy development and implementation, with there being significant critique of how governance bodies have approached this agenda. In this webinar, Karen will cover the main critiques and challenges in using wellbeing indicators as policy instruments based on her interest in knowledge politics and epistemic justice. By drawing on her own research and experience of local and central government in the UK and New Zealand, she will argue for more democratic and context-based research, as well as systematic reviews of qualitative evidence on wellbeing, to inform policy.

Recording available here


Karen’s research focuses on the politics of knowledge and evidence for policy. She has researched the international interest in measuring quality of life/wellbeing for public policy, particularly focussed on the UK, US and New Zealand. She has worked in, and alongside, local and central government to improve evidence for public policy on wellbeing and sustainability issues. This includes a research fellowship in the Strategic Evidence and Analysis Team in Defra, and working as part of the ESRC Centre for Evaluating Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN). She is co-editor for the Palgrave MacMillan book series The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing and her publications include: Measuring Wellbeing: Towards Sustainability (Routledge 2012) and The Politics of Wellbeing: Theory, Policy and Practice (with Ian Bache, Palgrave 2018). Related to this research, she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the politics of knowledge and theories and governance of ‘The Good Life’ from classical to contemporary times.



April - August 2021 Webinar Series

Multidimensional Well-Being:
Concepts, Measurement, & Applications

Questions/Suggestions? E-mail us at: 2021multidimensional [at] gmail.com

The webinar series brings together and into conversation established scholars, junior researchers, and practitioners working to conceptualise, measure, and improve multidimensional well-being. It addresses and allows for discussion regarding both long-standing and contemporary issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of well-being, with a special focus on applications related to the Capability Approach.


General themes running through the series include concepts of well-being, philosophies of well-being measurement, methodological issues including formal procedures for multidimensional measurement, the role of participation and deliberation, empirical applications and challenges, policy uses and implications, and current research frontiers.


The series is hosted by a group of junior HDCA scholars and aims at providing a forum for exchanges and discussions between junior and senior researchers and practitioners, and in combining their competencies. All are welcome.