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Wellbeing machine: linking health to nonhuman material


McLeod, K, Wellbeing machine: linking health to nonhuman material, Australian Sociological Association Conference, 25-28 November, Mebourne, Australia (2013) [Conference Extract]

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The predominant characterisation of wellbeing is that of an individually-held capacity. Illbeing is usually understood as an interior pathology. These conventional understandings can readily be connected to individuals being blamed for the status of their wellbeing. In this presentation I reconceptualise health as intimately connected to nonhuman material. I show how wellbeing is co-produced by ontological objects by explicating a conceptual entity called the Wellbeing Machine. The Wellbeing Machine is made up of four assemblages or collective bodies which each represent different affective capacities and different responses to the challenges of everyday life experienced by people with depression. The Wellbeing Machine generates concepts that highlight how the material of the nonhuman is part of the production of different states of health. Wellbeing is reconceived as the affective modulation associated with the enduring transformation of collective bodies. Illbeing is redefined as the affective states emergent from a collective body that is decomposing or breaking down. Illbeing here is a generative and enduring component of life, required for the production of wellbeing. By linking ontological objects to what is generally seen as the interior states of the individual an account of wellbeing and illbeing is generated that does not contribute to a politics of blame. To conclude, I will discuss how linking health to nonhuman material provides a contrasting departure point from which to debate how we resource wellbeing, respond to illbeing, and determine which kinds of wellbeing interventions are supported with subsidies and medical sanction.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:wellbeing, assemblage, Deleuze
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociological methodology and research methods
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:McLeod, K (Dr Kim McLeod)
ID Code:137807
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-03-04
Last Modified:2020-04-21

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