The Auspicious Heart: Influence, Productivity, and Coherence

  • Usha Menon


This chapter presents a cultural model of wellbeing framed in terms of indigenous meanings that have salience in the temple town. The three measures that constitute wellbeing are the following: having control over one’s own activities and influence over others, being centrally involved in the household’s productive and distributive activities, and possessing psychological and moral coherence. The model implies that access to wellbeing is centrally linked to family role occupied; therefore, the experience of wellbeing shifts across the life course, being low in young adulthood, peaking in mature adulthood, and declining in old age. This connection between family role and access to wellbeing is best exemplified by the lack of wellbeing experienced by widows and married daughters who have returned permanently to their father’s homes—women who are cultural anomalies because they are not associated with any particular family role. The chapter also acknowledges that lived experience does not necessarily match the cultural model: even within a sample of just 37 women, there is intra-cultural variability with young adult women claiming to enjoy substantial wellbeing, while mature adult women claim not to.


Married Woman Mature Adulthood Family Role Married Daughter Substantial Wellbeing 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Usha Menon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Culture and CommunicationDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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