Defining Well-Being in a Local Context: Lessons from the Field
The results suggest that on each level definition of child’s well-being is constructed differently. Local authorities are convinced they do everything they should to provide equal chances for development of young people by guaranteeing access to schools, cultural institutions and sports facilities. Yet for middle class parents this is not enough, so they put strong emphasis on extracurricular education, which in Poland is mostly private and therefore expensive, but gives an opportunity to obtain skills beneficial to children’s later careers. In case of lower class parents this option is not available, so they describe success differently. Adolescents also create their own definition of welfare, which focuses much more on the present than imaginable future. Furthermore, all these definitions derive from an ever-present neo-liberal narrative. If it changed, so would the definitions.
Taking all of this into account, which elements can a researcher safely compare? In my paper I will focus on finding common areas of these definitions and underline aspects that should be treated with caution.