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Do Groups Matter? Using a Wellbeing Framework to Understand Collective Activities in Northeast Thailand


  • Rebecca Schaaf


This paper is motivated by two key themes in international development: the recent surge of interest in wellbeing as the desired outcome of development, and the continuing promotion of group-based activities within development policy and practice. Drawing on findings from research conducted in Northeast Thailand, this paper discusses the development and implementation of a multidimensional framework, which was used to investigate how groups affect the wellbeing of individuals and the community. The research highlights the problematic nature of community groups, as there were often large gaps between aspirations and satisfaction with group membership. Through analysis of these findings, the value of using a wellbeing-focused framework is illustrated, as it provides a more comprehensive way of analysing the diverse and dynamic motivations, experiences and outcomes of group membership. Overall, the wellbeing approach results in greater understanding of the role of groups within the community and the development process.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca Schaaf, 2010. "Do Groups Matter? Using a Wellbeing Framework to Understand Collective Activities in Northeast Thailand," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 241-257.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:38:y:2010:i:2:p:241-257
    DOI: 10.1080/13600811003753370

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