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Stable and destabilised states of subjective well-being: dance and movement as catalysts of transition

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Karen Scott



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The pursuit of subjective well-being has become an important object of policy and personal action, which within geography has been engaged largely by those with an interest in health. But to date, geography has given little attention to the ways in which subjective well-being changes and in particular, the ways in which it may be understood as both stable and amenable to change. Similarly, the field of arts and health asserts the value of participation in the creative arts for enhancing subjective well-being, but has also hardly addressed how this may come about. The paper explores stability and change in well-being through a case study of a dance and movement intervention in an English primary school. We draw on Deleuze and Guattari's notions of assemblages and of striated and smooth space to explore how participation in the arts may enable escape from habituated practices. This exploration expands the scope of geographies of health towards capturing the moments and processes through which transitions in subjective well-being may occur. The study indicates the need for greater attention to gentler and gendered forms of transition.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Scott K; Atkinson S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Social & Cultural Geography

Year: 2015

Volume: 16

Issue: 1

Pages: 75-94

Print publication date: 01/01/2015

Online publication date: 16/09/2014

Acceptance date: 22/07/2014

Date deposited: 17/04/2015

ISSN (print): 1464-9365

ISSN (electronic): 1470-1197

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2014.950689


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Funder referenceFunder name
086049Wellcome Trust