Calculating the Human: Universal Calculability in the Age of by Luigi Doria (auth.)

By Luigi Doria (auth.)

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The surprising power of quality settles at the very core of European governance and significantly shapes the scene of the multilevel relationships between EU institutions and local and national actors, with the risk of reinforcing the tendency towards a techno-managerialist turn in both European action and local policy. On the basis of a surprising ‘connective’ ability, quality arises as a powerful connecting element between different fields of policy,19 between different levels of government, and between the actors that interact in the new public–private policy networks (Doria, 2009).

Most prominent among these is the assumption that all dimensions of subjective well-being can somehow be reduced to the single concept of ‘happiness’. In reality, as argued by Diener (1984), subjective well-being (SWB) is best understood as encompassing three separate aspects: • life satisfaction, that is, a person’s overall judgment about their life at a particular point in time; • the presence of positive feelings or affect, that is, the flow of positive emotions (such as feeling happiness and joy, or a sense of vitality and energy) from moment to moment; • the absence of negative feelings or affect, that is, the flow of negative emotions (such as feeling angry, sad or depressed) from moment to moment.

31 This has given rise to a perspective of critical thought on urban quality as an element of the trend towards the marketization of the urban space and its complicity with the technocratic twisting of territorial policies. On the other hand, the local dimension is assumed to be a privileged place for the participatory construction of quality. The local is assumed, in fact, as a privileged space for the emergence of forums for debate (open to a diversity of conceptions and interpretations of quality) in which measurement can be far removed from its ‘technocratic’ outcomes.

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