A Fellow of Infinite Jest is a blog by Ken Leach. Ken reaches for pretentious David Foster Wallace references when pushed to register a URL. He also talks about himself in the third person. That should tell you everything you need to know. His posts are likely to talk about UK wellbeing policy, mixed in with some personal musings about...stuff.

PhD Intro: Wellbeing policy in the UK

Since I'm using this website to record my thoughts, it makes sense to do an early post on my PhD research as it takes up a fair few of those stray musings.

I became interested in government policy in the emerging field of happiness and wellbeing in 2008-2009. When I left London and the Cabinet Office in April 2010 (for some reason) I went back to York to do a masters in social research and then a part time PhD.

I'm roughly over halfway through, having completed my upgrade and finishing up fieldwork. From a methodological perspective I'm conducting semi-structured interviews with policy makers in central and local government, as well as a discourse analysis of relevant documents.

I'll probably write some posts going into a bit more detail on various aspects of the project and other tangents - like the practicalities of a part time PhD. But for now have my research questions!

Research questions

  • What are the common rationalities given by policy professionals for the collection of happiness and wellbeing data and its use in policy development?
  • What institutional and professional structures are in place for the collection and development of happiness and wellbeing data and related policy development?
  • What policy interventions are being proposed as a result of the UK happiness and wellbeing programme?
  • If any, what are the key theoretical benefits, challenges and drawbacks presented by practitioners in this field?
  • How do practitioners believe the field will develop over the near future?

If you are working in the same field and want to get in touch, you can contact me on my University of York email address ken.leach@york.ac.uk.

Thanks for putting up with a slightly dull but necessary post!

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