Chapter 6 The ‘wicked problem’ of wellbeing
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Chapter 6 reflects on key controversies that are central to the prospects for wellbeing in policy, focusing on four issues in particular: reliability and validity (of data), responsibility (for action), distrust (of politicians) and distraction (from other concerns). It suggests that it is difficult to adjudicate between the various arguments as they often take very different starting points, either meta-theoretical or disciplinary. In seeking to steer a course through these arguments the chapter takes the distinction between ‘wicked’ and ‘tame’ problems as a reference point, arguing that the challenge of bringing wellbeing further into policy should be categorised as the former. The arguments are grounded in relation to empirical research on the UK, although a number of the arguments apply more generally.

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