NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON

Perspectives on Identity and Well Being:

An Interdisciplinary Dialogue

 

(March 7 & 8, 2007)

Zakir Husain College

 

 

(BACKGROUND)

 

Concerns of identity are rising across the world and its varied consequences are being intensely experienced. The lives of people as persons as well as collectivities are being increasingly organized around the notion of identity. Identity is also becoming a site for contest. It is being constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed under the changing socio-economic and cultural circumstances. In any case the play of identity is on. Of course, its concerns, levels and commitments vary depending on the context   . They have certainly changed with time but the necessity of identity as medium and expression of existence is realized. Against this backdrop, it is proposed to hold a national seminar to explore the diverse implications of identity experiences for subjective well being of the people.

Identity, being a defining feature of a person/group, represents the existence and communicates the same to others. Identity formation is primarily a meaning making process that engages people with passion as they contribute to the self esteem of the people. The identities that people construct may be organized at different levels of reality with varying degree of focus on one or many levels ranging from physical, through personal, interpersonal, and social to spiritual level.  For instance one may define identity as a physical body, as a person located in a social space (e.g. family, college, market), or as an embodiment of consciousness / absolute reality.

  Construing identity in one or the other way is contingent on experiences in the social-cultural matrix and different people or groups may have different experiences or may have used different pathways to construct identity. Once the identity is constructed it has tremendous consequences for functioning in the different domains of life. Once a person realizes the identity or understands the meaning of his being he/she becomes a different person.

 

People who strongly desire wealth and money are unhappy. Perhaps the developed countries have moved to post materialistic state.  This is why the financial status was more positively elated to life satisfaction in poor countries. The eudemonic perspective maintains that happiness is not the main criterion of well-being. Humans should not be mere slavish followers of desires.  True happiness is found in the expression of virtue and when we undertake tasks that are worth doing.

The challenge of well-being constitutes one of the significant issues in contemporary world. Notwithstanding the increase in resources, great technological fiats and control of nature, we are far away from the goal of health and well-being for all. The peace of mind is being replaced by increasing number of problems.  People are experiencing stresses and daily hassles more frequently and intensely. The material advancement has been achieved at the cost of health and well-being. Burn out is a common experience and well being gone down. 

People who strongly desire wealth and money are unhappy. Perhaps the developed countries have moved to post materialistic state.  This is why the financial status was more positively elated to life satisfaction in poor countries. The eudemonic perspective maintains that happiness is not the main criterion of well-being. Humans should not be mere slavish followers of desires.  True happiness is found in the expression of virtue and when we undertake tasks that are worth doing.

The challenge of well-being constitutes one of the significant issues in contemporary world. Notwithstanding the increase in resources, great technological fiats and control of nature, we are far away from the goal of health and well-being for all. The peace of mind is being replaced by increasing number of problems.  People are experiencing stresses and daily hassles more frequently and intensely. The material advancement has been achieved at the cost of health and well-being. Burn out is a common experience and well being gone down.

 

Challenges

 

Unfortunately psychologists have been more interested in anger, hostility, hatred, anxiety and depression like negative emotions more than positive emotions. The emergence of positive psychology at the dawn of 21st century is particularly concerned with it. It is  noted that satisfaction, contentment, pride, serenity deal with past; optimism, hope, confidence, faith and trust are future related; and momentary pleasures and more enduring gratifications deal with present.

 Some researchers have distinguished between hedonic and eudemonic traditions. The eudemonic perspective defines good life in terms of achieving one's full potential. We do find cases in which the pursuit of pleasure prevents well-being. The discourse on wisdom in Indian tradition recognizes the continuity between individual personal self and the larger and collective self. a person is located in the socio-spiritual space. One's location in this space is the force directing the pursuit of happiness.

The present seminar shall try to address the notion of identity and its relationship with well being from various perspectives. Some of the issues pertaining to this domain are as follows:

 

1.                    What are the various ways in which identity has been delineated in various traditions of scholarship and cultural context?

2.                     What are the diverse notions of well being pursued by people?

3.                    What is the relationship of identity with well being?

4.                    What strategies can be used to promote well being across different groups and communities?

5.                    What are the modalities to promote well being in the context of work and social functions?

In the above background we propose to address the following area related to the issue:

            HEALTH

       EDUCATION

       SOCIO CULTURE

       GENDER

       OLD AGE

       ORGANIZATION

SPORTS   

           

The Seminar will involve special lectures, keynote addresses and presentations by senior and younger colleagues from different disciplines including psychology, sociology, economics, geography and political science. It is hoped that such dialogue would enable better and more comprehensive understanding of the phenomena.

 

Presenters will be given 15 minutes for presentation. They would be encouraged to use power point / overhead presentations in the Seminar and make the text of papers available before the seminar. Selected papers shall be published in a book form. Papers are sent to the seminar director at the following address:

 

                                                        Dr. Sunil D. Gaur

Department of Psychology

Zakir Husain College

( Delhi University )

New Delhi-110002


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