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Title: A Cross-Cultural View on Well-Being: Children's Experiences in the Tibetan Diaspora in India and in Germany
Author(s): Cribari-Assali, Carla Maria
Supervisor(s): Punch, Samantha
Keywords: Cross-cultural research
comparative research
children's well-being
children's resilience
Issue Date: Dec-2014
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This dissertation explores children’s (6-8 years old) perspectives and experiences of well-being in two different cultural contexts: in a Tibetan day-school (India) and in a German day-school (Germany). Ethnographic research was conducted with participants of a second-grade class (mixed gender) for six months at each site, 3-4 days a week in 2012. Participant observation was complemented by interviews with the children as well as with the staff of the school, documented by fieldnotes and sound recordings. Data was collected in line with postmodern grounded theory methodology and preliminary analysis accompanied the process of the fieldwork. The thesis explores the children’s views and social practices related to well-being which prove to be different in both cultures: the Tibetan children emphasized being skilful as a basic condition for well-being, while friendship with peers was most important at the German school. At both sites, the children would establish these conditions for well-being through competitions. Furthermore, the children’s different views and the social practices are considered against the backdrop of two ‘transcultural’ indicators of well-being: self-confidence and resilience. These indicators were not selected randomly but chosen inductively during fieldwork, as the difference in self-confidence and resilience between the children’s groups at each site was noticeable. The thesis demonstrates how these differences in self-confidence and resilience are likely to have been related to a) the children’s particular views and social practices linked to well-being b) the manner in which childhood is constructed within the children’s societies and c) particular basic beliefs and worldviews prevalent within the children’s societies. The results emphasize the usefulness of researching well-being cross-culturally and suggest that (socio-culturally specific) self- and worldviews significantly influence children’s well-being.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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